Punch & Co., German Summer Drink Recipes
Most well-known of the summer coolers with alcohol is probably Fruchtbowle, which is simply that. A fruit bowl. A colorful bowl of punch made with ripe fruit, which is not only attractive but delicious.
A typical fruit punch recipe uses two pounds of fruit to four bottles of wine, two of which should be sparkling. The more neutral the flavor of the fruit then the more neutral the wine should be.
Early in the season Erdbeerbowle is a favorite. One of the first signs of summer, strawberries fit perfectly to a Rosé.
And then other fruits become available to "mix and match", with peaches and pineapple a great combination in a fruit punch for example.
Sugar is added to taste, to that quantity of fruit about one cup usually, a handful of bruised mint leaves, (bruising herbs releases their flavor and aroma), together with small pieces of lemon or lime.
The mixture is covered with vodka, or schnapps - a strong, clear, lightly fruit flavored brandy - stirred through and then marinated, preferably overnight.
Ice cubes can be made with small pieces of the same fruits, frozen in a tray with a little water.
Just before serving, this fruit and alcohol combination is added to a large ice filled bowl, topped up with the four bottles of cold, not too dry, wine...and enjoyed.
Schottische Limonade is also popular on warm days and a real thirst quencher, but, although literally translated as "Scottish Lemonade", it has neither any connection with Scotland nor is it a lemonade. It is a lemon flavored carbonated drink, and basically a herb and fruit tea.
For that you need:
2 pints of mint tea. Brewed with bruised and chopped fresh mint and allowed to cool.
2 pints of fruit juice. Apple juice, black currant, or cherry for example.
Strain the tea and mix with the chosen fruit juice.
Serve chilled with ice cubes made from fruit juice, and a slice of lemon.
While one part Elderflower Cordial with two parts sparkling mineral water and lots of ice, is a staple 'any time of the day' summer drink in many German homes.
And a cult drink among the young is Spezi. This can be bought ready made under various brand names, but most prefer to make their own Spezi as it is a one to one mix of Coke and carbonated orange drink, orange soda for example. Always served chilled, and with or without the addition of ice cubes. While a 'healthier' variation is made from coke mixed 1:1 with pure orange juice.
Some 'grown-ups' add a shot of vodka and a slice of lemon to the mix.
Of course there is also a Coke or Spezi Float, an ice cream drink. A scoop of ice, usually vanilla but it can be any flavor, in a glass that is topped up with a favorite coke variety, or one that is just available, then swizzled with a spoon to make a frothy topping and drunk through a straw.
Beer mixed with lemonade, Radler, called "bike-rider" because it was supposedly invented for cyclists in Bavaria, is very refreshing on a hot summer day, and found throughout the country now, while the Cologne area has Kölsch-Cola which is half the local beer, Kölsch, and half Coca-Cola.
Fruit or wine Schorle or Spritzers are offered in every cafe and bar, as well as made at home, and are probably the most popular of the refreshing 'every day' drinks during the summer.
Wine recipes for red or white wine spritzers, are 1:1 combinations of:
Wine with mineral water, a "Weinschorle"
Wine with soda, "süß Weinschorle"
and wine with cola, "Cola-Schoppen".
While a fruit spritzer, "Saftschorle" or "Fruchtsaftschorle", uses a higher proportion of carbonated mineral water but it is "to taste", and the most popular is the one made with pure apple juice. An icy "Apfelschorle", which not only cools but fizzes with flavor.
Although Rhabarbersaftschorle, with Rhubarb juice, is becoming increasingly trendy.
All types of Schorle are available to buy ready mixed, but are really easy to make and "homemade" the taste and quality is far better. Tests on various brands of commercial apple spritzer gave low ratings for virtually all of them, and with one the comment was that "its aroma resembled shampoo with an apple fragrance". So that would be a "fail" then.
Just some of the refreshing drinks enjoyed every summer throughout Germany, everywhere from the back porch and beach to the Biergarten, and worth trying anywhere in the world.
PROST !...and enjoy your excursion into the world of Germany's favorite summer beverages.
Photo credits: Elderflower Cordial via Good Food -Fruit punch Politikaner and Apfelschorle via alchetron
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