Tuesday, 11 December 2012

German Tuesday: German Christmas Tradition - Feuerzangenbowle

I hope you enjoyed the first part of my small German tradition series and as promised there is more. Today's one of my favourites and it's perfect for these cold winter evenings.

Ok, so it's a mouthful but if you like Gl├╝hwein (German mulled wine) you'll love this one. Feuerzangenbowle is a traditional German alcoholic drink that you can find at a lot of Christmas markets. The name literally translates as "fire-tongs punch" but I think "burnt punch" might be a better description. There was even a 1944 German film comedy 'Die Feuerzangenbowle' which has boosted the popularity of this drink enormously.

So what is it then? Feuerzangenbowle is prepared in a bowl which is suspended over a small burner. In the bowl is red wine with some spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel. So far it is quite similar to mulled wine - but now comes the twist. On top of the bowl sits the 'Feuerzange', nowadays a purpose designed metal grate, that holds the 'Zuckerhut' (sugar cone). The sugar is soaked with rum, set alight, so it starts melting and caramelising. More rum is poured on the sugar with a ladle until all the sugar has melted and mixed with the wine in the bowl below.

By Kore Nordmann (own work)
This is the perfect drink for a cold winter evening so if you want to try something new here's the recipe (for all of us who are 18 years and older):

  • 2-3 bottles of dry red wine (e.g. Rioja)
  • 0,4l of rum (at least 50% alcohol)
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 "Zuckerhut", sugar cone around 7 inches long
  • optional) a pinch of gingerbread spices
  • (optional) 2 lemons
  • The rum has to have 50% alcohol minimum, otherwise the flambeing won't work.
  • If the rum has a higher percentage of alcohol (>60%) the flame will be very big.
    Proceed with caution and add the rum slowly. 
  • If you can't obtain a "Zuckerhut", substitute sugar cubes.
  • If you can't obtain a "Feuerzange", replace it by a grate.
  • Instead of the "Feuerzangenbowle" bowl and heater you can also use a big pot on a normal cooking plate.
  • Put the wine into the bowl and heat it to about 70 degrees Celsius.
  • Wash the fruit with hot water.
  • Peel the oranges (and lemons) in thin stripes.
  • Now put the zests, spices and juice in the bowl.
  • Place the "Feuerzange" on the bowl and place the "Zuckerhut" on it.
  • Put the rum into a soup ladle and pour it over the "Zuckerhut". Then carefully lighten it.
  • When the flame on the sugar has stopped burning, repeat the process with a fresh ladle of rum.  Add the rum very slowly this time or you will burn your hand.
  • When the sugar has completely dissolved, remove the "Feuerzange" and add another ladle of  unburnt rum to the bowl.
  • Remove all "swimming" parts (oranges, (lemons,) cloves and the cinnamon stick) from the drink.
Enjoy!! And remember - don't drink and drive.

[via wikipedia.org, wikibooks.org]

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