Feuerzangenbowle, Flaming Fire-Tongs Punch, is a potent and spectacular German winter, Weihnachten (Christmas) and Silvester (New Year) drink; based on mulled wine, sugar, rum and flames. And it isn't necessary to use the fancy sugar cone seen here.
The popularity of Feuerzangenbowle has been increased by a cult, especially among students, which has grown around a famous and still popular black and white comedy movie produced in 1944's wartime Germany. Die Feuerzangenbowle. It features a middle aged writer, played by an iconic German actor of the time Heinz Ruehmann, who after drinking rather too much Feuerzangenbowle decides to disguise himself and become a high school pupil.
An experience he had missed, as he had been born into a wealthy family and privately educated at home. The movie covers the chaos both writer and his much younger classmates cause once he has arrived at the school.
A classic German "Mulled Wine drink, Feuerzangenbowle is a delicious mixture with a real kick; fun to make and thoroughly enjoyable. There are of course many recipes, all just that little bit different, and some include two cups of orange juice in with the wine mixture, but this is the one we use.
FEUERZANGENBOWLE - A Mulled Wine Drink
Ingredients: For 10-12 glasses - Takes about 30 minutes
2 oranges (unwaxed and untreated if possible)
2 lemons (unwaxed and untreated if possible)
3 bottles red wine, not a light wine (2 to 3 litres)
2 sticks cinnamon, about 2-3 inches long
1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tsp allspice
½ lb sugar cone (Zuckerhut), a solid piece of sugar, or ½ lb sugar cubes
1 bottle brown rum (at least 54% alcohol otherwise it will not flame, but anything over 60% gives a very high flame)
Wash the oranges and lemons thoroughly, dry and cut into thin slices.
Put red wine, oranges, lemons, cinnamon and cloves into a large pot. Heat slowly until just below boiling point, do not allow to boil.
It is a fun experience to sit around the pot while the sugar melts and drips into the wine, so if you have a fondue heater or something similar, and would like to use the Feuerzangenbowle as a table centre piece, the pot can be removed from the heat at this point and put onto the alternative heating source. Add the ginger or allspice.
Place the sugar loaf or sugar cubes above the red wine mixture (about 2 centimeters/1 inch above the surface). In Germany there are special "fire tongs" made for this purpose, however a grate, a plain aluminum cooling rack, fish rack from a barbecue or wire netting can be substituted.
Soak the sugar loaf or sugar cubes with rum and light up the alcohol. The safest way is to put rum into a small metal scoop or large spoon and light it away from the Feuerzangenbowle, then pouring the flaming liquid over the sugar. The sugar will begin to melt into a runny caramel and drip into the mulled wine punch.
Make sure that the hot melting sugar can not drip outside the pot, and as the flame dies away add rum gradually to keep the fire burning until all the sugar has melted.
Remove Feuerzangenbowle from heat, stir gently, add a measure of additional rum stir once more and serve.
Remove spices and fruit, the orange or lemon wedges can be added to individual servings, or they can also be put on one side to used sometime later as a dessert with a dash of cream.
Serve your Feuerzangenbowle in heatproof glasses or mugs.
Prost!..........And ENJOY your very special mulled wine.....!
You can use less sugar if "sweet" isn't to your taste, while to make a sugar cone, (Zuckerhut), take half a pound of sugar (or less), moisten, form into a cone shape and leave to dry over night, or simply use sugar cubes placed over the bowl on something like a grater so as they melt their liquid drips through.
This recipe does involve both alcohol and fire so needs to be handled carefully. For safety reasons it is not a good idea to make it in an enclosed space, please ensure there is nothing flammable or likely to melt in close proximity to the flames, and use only metal utensils.............but ENJOY.
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Photo Feuerzangenbowle courtesy photographer Kore Nordmann (Kore), via de.Wikipedia