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|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (April 2014)|
Feuerzangenbowle is a traditional German alcoholic drink for which a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and drips into mulled wine. It is often part of a Christmas or New Year's Eve tradition. The name translates literally to fire-tongs punch.
The popularity of the drink has been boosted by the 1944 film comedy Die Feuerzangenbowle. It is a traditional drink of some German fraternities, who also call it Krambambuli, as the red colour is reminiscent of a cherry liqueur of that name which was manufactured by the distillery Der Lachs zu Danzig (in Gdańsk).
Feuerzangenbowle is prepared in a bowl, similar to a fondue set, which usually is suspended over a small burner (rechaud). The bowl is filled with heated dry red wine spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and orange peel, similar to mulled wine. The Feuerzange was originally a pair of tongs, but nowadays it is common for a purpose-designed metal grate mounted on top of the bowl to hold the Zuckerhut (sugarloaf or literally "sugar hat"), a sugar cone around seven inches long. The sugar is soaked with rum and set alight, melting and caramelizing. The rum should have at least 54% alcohol per volume and be at room temperature in order to burn properly. More rum is poured with a ladle until all the sugar has melted and mixed with the wine. The resulting punch is served in mugs while the burner keeps the bowl warm. For some the ceremony is more important than the drink itself, celebrating the gathering of friends and conveying a notion of Gemütlichkeit.
Tübingen, Germany, shows the film Die Feuerzangenbowle in a public square annually in December. During this event, the city creates a large amount of Feuerzangenbowle and sells mugs of the drink. A major part of the festival is watching workers ladle cups of flaming rum over a large tower of sugar suspended over an even larger vat of wine. Because the Feuerzangenbowle festival occurs at night, the flaming rum lights up the town square in a dramatic sight.
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