Feuerzangenbowle and Gluehwein Christmas Drinks from Germany
This is the year for Feuerzangenbowle! I'm looking forward to gathering friends to my home during the cold months leading up to Christmas and serving this fiery interactive drink - drizzling the rum and lighting the sugar cone, watching the flame blaze and then the sugar caramelize.
Last December I visited the Vancouver Christmas Market and finally enjoyed this potent hot drink. I had seen this option on the menu boards of the vendors at the Christkindlmarkts I had visited in Germany. But how do you order something you can't even pronounce!! My best guess on this one is "FOY-er-tsahng-en-bowl-eh".
So as I shuffle along in the line that Vancouver evening I work up the courage to order a mug. Thank goodness the market was so busy - the high alcohol content hit me so quickly and it was only the shoulder to shoulder crowd that kept me from swaying!
Feuerzangenbowle starts out with Glühwein - traditional Mulled Wine made with red wine, spices and citrus and a little sugar or even honey. I've read through dozens of Glühwein recipes and no matter how different they are they all seem to agree that you can take liberties and add and subtract ingredients as you see fit. You can find all sorts of recipes and presentation ideas on my Pinterest Board - Gluehwein, Mulled Wine & Feuerzangenbowle - Christmas Drinks.
- 1 - 750 ml bottle of bold dry red wine (you don't need an expensive wine as the flavors will be somewhat overshadowed by the spices and citrus)
- 1/2 cup of brandy or rum or Cointreau (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1 large orange, peeled then juiced - you'll be using both the peel and the juice
- 1 lemon, peeled - you'll use the peel and zest and maybe a squirt of juice
- 1/2 cup sugar (brown or white) or honey - you may want to cut this in half if you are using the Mulled Wine for Feuerzangenbowle
- 5-6 whole cloves
- 1 nutmeg, about 10 gratings
- 1 cinnamon stick - real cinnamon if you can get it (or several pieces of cinnamon bark)
- 2 star anise
- You may choose to throw in a pinch of other spices like cardamon, vanilla bean, Allspice, etc. You may also choose to lightly toast the spices in the pot before you add liquids.
Into a medium sized pot over medium heat put the water, lemon peel and orange peel and juice. Add the sugar/honey and the spices. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20-30 minutes to reduce the liquid to a thin syrup.
Turn down the heat and add the wine and slowly bring the pot back to a low simmer. You don't want to boil the wine as that burns off the alcohol. Ladle the hot wine into mugs and garnish with an orange slice, maybe some cranberries or a cinnamon stick.
So now you have the Glühwein or Mulled Wine or Glogg (as it is called in some parts!). And it is a terrific drink on its own. But consider taking it up a notch and create Feuerzangenbowle - or Fire Punch! Take a look at this excellent little video by Cocktail Chemistry to see just how easy this is:
Feuerzangenbowle reminds me a bit of Fondue or Raclette - everyone around the table participates in the making of the feast. With the communal activity of preparing and eating the food comes special socializing - you are visiting and cooking together around the table.
Feuerzangenbowle may be made in a large pot and ladled into mugs and Gingerbread World offers a special Feuerzangenbowle pot, the tray and sugar cone required for this.
Using the Glühwein or Mulled Wine that you prepared you are now going to add sugar and rum - high proof rum - and fire! A word about the Rum: Unfortunately here in Canada shops like ours are not allowed to ship alcohol - we'd love to offer you a complete package with Wine and Rum but nogo according to Canadian Law! You can find high proof Rums at your local liqueur store - the rum should have at least 54% alc./vol. to make sure that the cone lights and burns long enough for the sugar to melt and caramelize. You'll need to add rum to the cone as it burns but make sure you do this using a long-handled spoon or ladle.
Some high proof Rum suggestions (availability differs across Canada): Bacardi 151, Stroh 80, Wray and Nephew White Overproof. The Wray and Nephew is available in my province and I tried it the other night comparing it to a Stroh 54 I had purchased in Ontario - the Wray and Nephew burned far better than then Stroh 54.
Gingerbread World offers the accessories to make Feuerzangenbowle 2 different ways:
For Making Feuerzangenbowle by the Potful!
You can make a whole pot of Glühwein and burn the sugar cone right over the pot and then serve it in mugs. You might want to consider pouring the Glühwein into a Fondue pot and setting the burner to low to keep the Mulled Wine hot throughout an evening of socializing. We sell a special set for this - check it out here. Use a Large Sugar Tray and rest across the pot on the top edges. Place the Large Zuckerhut Sugar Cone on the tray and generously drizzle Rum over the sugar cone. Carefully light the cone with a long neck lighter or long match, turn off the lights and watch it burn.
For Making Feuerzangenbowle in a Mug:
Small Tray and Small Sugar Cone - Use the same technique as above just on a smaller scale.
There are lots of great resources online for making Glühwein and Feuerzangenbowle. I came across this video that is helpful and easy to watch - he makes his Glühwein a little differently than me but that's the point!!
Enjoy your hot drinks this Christmas Season!
Owner @ Gingerbread World