Glühwein (spiced mulled wine) is quite popular during the winter months in Germany. But if you are looking to kick things up a notch, you may find this drink a lot more interesting: Feuerzangenbowle, literally translated as “fire tongs punch.”
It’s a brew that’s great fun to make as it involves suspending a giant chunk of sugar above the wine, dousing it in rum and setting it on fire. Admittedly, finding a big chunk of sugar, particularly a sugar cone isn’t an easy thing in the United States. However, if you don’t mind using a brown sugar substitute, Piloncillo is available at most Latin-American markets around the country. It adds a unique caramel flavor to the punch. If you cannot get that, use sugar cubes available in supermarkets everywhere.
This hot punch has a somewhat cult status in Germany – not least since it was featured in the 1944 film Die Feuerzangenbowle, which is a humorous movie that explores the friendships and adventurous ways of young people.
Extreme caution is needed when preparing this recipe as you’re dealing with fire and alcohol. Please don’t try this without a fire extinguisher handy. Not a good idea to make it if there are rambunctious children or pets around.
- 2 organic oranges
- 2 organic lemons
- 3 bottles dry red wine (2 to 3 litres total)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 cloves
- 1 pinch ginger (ground)
- 1 pinch cardamom
- 1 pinch allspice
- 1 sugar cone
- 2 cups brown rum (at least 54% alcohol)
- Wash oranges and lemons thoroughly, pat dry and cut into slices or wedges.
- In a large pot combine red wine, gently squeezed oranges and lemons, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice and ginger. Heat slowly making sure it does not come to a boil. Remove pot from heat and place on a heat source (such as from a Fondue set).
- Place sugar cone into metal holder ("Feuerzange"). A metal rack or mesh strainer will do, as long as it doesn't sink into the wine - don't use aluminum.
- Soak sugar cone with rum and carefully light it. The sugar will melt and drip into the wine.
- Little by little start adding more rum to the sugar cone using a long-handled ladle.
- Once the sugar cone and rum have completely burned off, gently stir the concoction and serve in mugs or heatproof glasses.
- Important note on safety:
- This recipe requires handling alcohol and open flames. Be extremely careful and proceed with caution.
We disclaim any responsibility if you burn yourself or property out of negligence.