Food & Drink

December 4, 2013

Just Add Fire

This traditional German party punch puts on a show before it's served.

Fireworks, champagne toasts and midnight kisses are all familiar New Year’s Eve traditions, but in Germany, a glowing bowl of wine punch, set ablaze via rum-soaked sugar, takes the stage as a crowd-pleasing holiday light show. The traditional drink, often served on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, is called feuerzangenbowle — literally meaning “fire tong punch” — and is made with merlot, citrus and spices.

What separates the concoction from conventional mulled wine is its exciting, fiery presentation.

“Growing up in Germany, it was pretty typical for most families to enjoy this drink, including ours,” says Inga Bowyer, owner of German Deli in Colleyville, which offers a variety of German goodies and housewares. “It was considered a special-occasion drink — something you would set up if you had a crowd of people, for all of the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’”

A heatproof punch bowl is required, as is a stainless bridge that can hoist the zuckerhut — a large cone made of sugar that slowly melts once ablaze; dripping into and sweetening the wine. Use Bowyer’s recipe here to create your own batch of fire punch this holiday season, then turn the lights down, gather the guests around and toast to a new end-of-year tradition.

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