Bringing Europe Home

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Feuerzangenbowle

As kids, we gathered round the campfire.  As adults, we can gather round the Feuerzangenbowle!

WHAT IT IS

Feuerzangenbowle translates as “fire-tongs punch” or even more descriptively as “flaming fire-tongs punch” (feuer means fire, zangen means tongs, and bowle means punch).  It is essentially a dramatic and entertaining way to make a type of Glühwein.  A combination of red wine, citrus fruit and spices is warmed in a pot; then a sugar cone is doused with rum, placed on “tongs” above the pot of wine, and set afire.  The rum soaked sugar caramelizes and drips into the wine, completing the punch.  This traditional German beverage is commonly made during the Advent/Christmas Season or to bring in the New Year.  Friends are invited to share in the festive beverage and celebrate.

BRING IT HOME

The essence of the Feuerzangenbowle is festivity and Gemütlicheit, (which I interpret as “the comfort of friends”) — and those are worth bringing home!  There’s nothing like a flaming pot of mulled wine for an impressive centerpiece at an intimate gathering.  Normally reserved for special occasions, the Feuerzangenbowle can still be fired up for a small party, and it’s guaranteed to chase the chills of winter.  Give it a practice now, and then bring it on again for your holiday celebrations next winter!  You can purchase an entire hot-pot set at www.germandeli.com, or just purchase the tongs and use your own fondue pot or stove top pot to mull the wine.

German Deli also sells the sugar cones, (a Zukerhut), so if you’re ordering, you may want to purchase several for the future.  Yes, there are cones of sugar that are made expressly for the purpose of dousing with rum and setting aflame.  If you’re totally improvising, you could substitute 7 oz. of sugar cubes and fasten them over your pot on a sturdy metal grater, planer or screen—whatever you use needs to be fireproof, very secure, and allow the caramelized sugar to drip through.

There are several recipes for making this wine punch, but they have the same fundamental ingredients.  Here is a basic recipe that you can use and vary according to your taste.

MULLED WINE FOR FIRE TONGS PUNCH

  • 3 bottles of dry red wine
  • juice of two oranges and 1 lemon
  • 1 washed and sliced orange; 1 washed and sliced lemon
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 cloves
  • Optional cardamom or allspice
  • Sugar cone
  • *151 proof rum—this is important in order for the sugar to ignite!

Heat the wine and citrus juices.  Add flavorings and fruit slices and heat for about 20-30 minutes.  Transfer to the “hot pot punch bowl,” if you’re using one.

Place the sugar cone on the tongs above the mulled wine, and pour enough rum over it to soak it.  Let the sugar rest for a few minutes…to let the rum soak in and to build the suspense.

Now comes the moment everyone’s been waiting for…set that baby on fire!Stir the punch occasionally while oohing and aahing, and pour additional rum over the sugar to keep it flaming and melting. (Be careful!) Watch that it doesn’t crust over, as this will keep it from melting.  When sufficient melting has occurred,  serve and drink.

 Welcome, friends!  Welcome, 2012!!

6 Comments

  1. Silvia

    I had my first Feuerzangenbowle this year, together with friends from Germany. It certaintly looked great, but I could not drink than more than 1.5 glasses, it was that strong.

    • Either ours was not as strong, or I’ve buit-up a tolerance for the stuff, because I could drain 2-3 mugs quite easily!

  2. fire always makes for a great presentation. mulled wine sounds great to serve guests on a chilly jan eve, apropos this time of year.

    • We did have a Feuerzangenbowle party in February, and it was apropos for the wintertime, and lots of fun, besides!

  3. David

    That looks so cool.

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