December 14, 2018 Advent with SusieJ

Feuerzangenböwle

Feuerzangenbowle (fire tongs bowl or punch) is served most often at Sylvester (New Year's), and also at winter markets. Traditionally, Feuerzangenbowle is made with a cone-shaped loaf of sugar called a Zuckerhut; an eq`ual weight of sugar cubes can be substituted. If you have any experience making sugar Easter eggs, you can probably make your own sugar cone. The sugar sits on a special grate over the wine. A plain, aluminum cooling rack that is not non-stick makes a good substitute, as does four long, flat, metal skewers at right angles. If you want, you can buy a full full set with heat-proof bowl, sugar rack and tea light to keep the wine warm.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

  • 2 bottles red wine
  • 2 lemons, washed, juiced and strained
  • 1 orange, washed, juiced and strained
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 7 oz sugar cubes, or 1 Zuckerhut
  • 1 c high-proof rum, e.g. Bacardi 151 or other high-proof liquor

Remove two slices of lemon and two of orange to float in the wine. Combine the wine, citrus juices, and cloves in a crock pot or fireproof pot. Float the sliced lemon and orange. Heat until steaming, but not boiling or simmering. In a crock pot, this will take 30 to 45 minutes on high to heat.

Place the sugar cubes or Zuckerhut on the grate or crossed skewers over a small bowl. Soak the sugar in the rum as thoroughly as possible, using at least 1/4 cup of liquor. Put the grate over the wine, double-check that nothing is over or nearby, and light the sugar on fire: this should require only one match.

If the sugar is soaked well, you should get very tall, very hot flame, one that will, at least, melt the plastic cover over the light in your range hood.

The flame will melt the sugar so that it drips into the wine below. The wine will flare. As the flame dies down, you can carefully ladle a couple tablespoons of rum over the sugar to keep it melting. Don't be surprised when you find yourself holding a ladle-ful of blue flame. Most of the German recipes I read called for an entire bottle of rum to be ladled on the sugar (do not pour from the bottle I have friends who set an azalea on file pouring a flammable liquid onto a flame). This makes a very sweet punch: add another bottle or two of wine, or don't melt all the sugar.

[A crockpot of mulled wine with a flaming cone of sugar; copyright 2017 Jorj F. Bauer, all rights reserved]