According to some studies, is originally from India where it is known as Panch which means, translated literally, five ingredients : the arrack – spirits distilled from rice or coconuts -, lemon juice, sugar, spice, tea – and water. It is believed at present that has been experienced for the first time outside India, in Madeira, in Câmara de lobos a small fishing village in the mid- eighteenth century by the hand of the British, at that time, were given to frequent trips between these stops.
Throughout the nineteenth century the was a drink too consumed within the Madeira families all over the side of the island, especially in Câmara de lobos, be they more or less affluent.
Today, the tradition of still very much alive among the locals and the tools used to assist preparation of these drinks, in essence not much has changed. Whoever wants to taste this drink so renowned for our island, derija to camara de lobos, because the land of is there. Now just tell me ” goes a ponchinha ? ”

This is another example of the Portuguese influences from the world being used for gastronomic purposes. Poncha made with Aguardente de Cana (distilled alcohol made from sugar cane juice), honey, sugar, lemon rind and with different fruit juices according to the version of Poncha, but traditionally lemon juice is used.

The use of sugar cane products (refined sugar and sugar cane rum) became a new world phenomenon after the Discovery of Brazil. The sugar cane rum replaced grape must brandy in spirits used for culinary purposes. Most importantly, the main ingredient in the confection of sweets and desserts became refined sugar instead of honey. They would last much longer and the recipes were much more versatile with sugar, because of its ability to produce the several candy stages.

Text source: Madeira Holidays