Every year CasaSugar and her sweetie throw a big, holiday party called a Feuerzangenbowle. The place is well decorated with homemade-snowflake chandeliers, but the highlight of the party is the actual Feuerzangenbowle — German for "tongs of fire punch" — which contains fruity and mulled wine and a flaming rum. A sugar cone is soaked in rum and placed above the punch. It is then lit and the flaming sugar drips into the holiday wine. It's definitely a festive and unique way to ring in the holidays!
This photo was taken before the cone was lit, but if you'd like to see photos of it aflame, as well as get the recipe and techniques on how to make the Tongs of Fire Punch at home,
Recipe and story from our very own CasaSugar
On Saturday, my fiance and I hosted a Feuerzangenbowle holiday party. (It's pronounced, approximately, foy-etz-ong-ah-bowl-ah.) Feuerzangenbowle (German for "tongs of fire punch") is a traditional fruity and mulled wine finished with flaming rum. The Zuckerhut (sugar cone) is soaked in Barcardi 151, and then lit so that the flaming goodness drips into the heady and seasonal brew. The lighting of the punch serves as a particularly festive kickoff to a cozy little holiday gathering. During the party, four different Zuckerhuts were lit, and my fiance would chant a little incantation before each lighting (this actually is just lyrics to a Tool song he recites in German, but it sounds very old-worldly for those of us who don't speak German).
My fiance and I are foodies, and he is an amazing cook. He went all out for the party—on Friday night he was up until 3 a.m. grilling eggplant, peppers, portabella mushroom, and squash. He also made three pounds of gravlax, which is raw salmon that's cured in salt, brown sugar, and spices over many days. He also made an amazing pumpkin dip. We bought a bunch of cheeses, cold cuts, and German appetizers from the local European deli The Junket, and bought stinky goat cheeses and delicious breads from The Cheese Board. We also served Egyptian dukkah spices with olive oil and bread, quince paste with Manchego, and ridiculous Christmas cookies from Neldham's, Oakland's Scandinavian bakery. One friend brought homemade Pfeffernusse cookies, other friends brought cakes, savory dips, and more delicious offerings.
And I was so busy socializing I forgot to eat!
We put out a lot of holiday decorations, many of which I made, and I'll post about these on Casa, and moved around the furniture to allow for the numerous guests who filtered through the house (and the multiple children who were found under tables, on tables, or behind tables depending on the time of the night).
All in all, it was a fun party, and I was happy to have some Sugar friends show up and enjoy the festivities! I definitely recommend the "Christmas in a cup" punch.
For the recipe for the punch, just
3 bottles of red wine (2-3 liters total)
2 cinnamon sticks
A German Zuckerhut (sugar cone)
1 German sugar cone/loaf*
1 bottle of rum
1. In a large pot or kettle filled with red wine, add cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and allspice. Cut up the oranges and lemons (optional: make peel spirals), crush fruit to release the juice, and add to the punch along with the cloves. Warm to a steaming mixture. Do not boil!
2. Place a German sugar cone (Zuckerhut, sugar loaf)* on a metal rack/screen or clamped in metal tongs above the warm punch. (Substitute sugar cubes if you can't get a Zuckerhut.) Slowly pour high-proof rum over the Zuckerhut or sugar cubes and let soak for a minute. Carefully light the Zuckerhut or sugar cubes and let the flaming sugar carmelize and drip into the punch mix. Add rum as needed to keep the flame going until the Zuckerhut process is done. Serve the punch hot in mugs or hot-tea glasses. (Note: Traditionally, Feuerzangenbowle was prepared with the Zuckerhut sitting on crossed swords atop the pot.)
*ZUCKERHUT: A German sugar cone or sugar loaf (lit. "sugar hat") is made of compressed Raffinade (refined sugar) in a cone shape. A German description of Raffinade: "Ein Zucker von höchster Reinheit und bester Qualität. Die Raffinade wird aus sehr reinen Zuckerlösungen gewonnen und entspricht hohen Ansprüchen." (A sugar of highest purity and best quality. Raffinade is made from very pure sugar solutions and meets high standards.) If you can't get the real thing, substitute sugar cubes in the recipe above.