German Advent word of the day: Die Feuerzangenbowle

Our word of the day is something that's popular with students and you might find it at a festive party – but be careful if you do!

German Advent word of the day: Die Feuerzangenbowle
Photo: Depositphotos

What does it mean? 
Beware of this word, or actually: beware of this drink. Die Feuerzangenbowle (literal translation: fire tong punch or burnt punch) is a German Christmas punch that can make you feel very dizzy really fast.
Like mulled wine, the basis of this punch is red wine that is infused with different spices, such as cinnamon, cloves and orange zest.

What happens afterwards is what makes it special: First, a fire tong, which is a special metal kitchen utensil, gets placed over the bowl with the red wine.

This tong holds a Zuckerhut (sugar hat), a small mountain of sugar, which gets soaked in brown rum. Afterwards, you light the sugar mountain on fire. While the sugar melts, it caramelizes and drips, still burning, in the liquid below. This gives the beverage a distinct and very sugary taste.

A diagram of classic Christmas market drinks, including the Feuerzangenbowle. Photo: DPA.

Feuerzangenbowle is especially popular throughout the Christmas season and gets sold at many German Christmas markets. Due to its high alcohol content, it is especially famous among students.

A woman prepares Feuerzangenbowle at a Christmas market in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA.

Even though the drink appeared in records as early as in the 19th century, its widespread popularity can be linked to the release of the 1944 film Die Feuerzangenbowle. This German movie starts with a group of elderly men, who are drinking the punch and talking about their school years.

Right up to the present day, the movie is shown in universities around Christmas time and is hugely popular. Students even bring their own mulled wine, flashlights and other props to participate in parts of the movie.

Example Sentences: 

Könnte ich bitte eine Feuerzangenbowle haben?

Could I please have a burnt punch?

Ich mag keine Feuerzangenbowle, weil sie mir zu süß ist.

I don't like burnt punch because is too sweet for me.

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Lebkuchen: Gingerbread is Germany’s favourite Christmas treat in 2020

Not chocolate, not Spekulatius - Gingerbread is officially Germany’s favourite Christmas treat, according to a new study.

Lebkuchen: Gingerbread is Germany’s favourite Christmas treat in 2020
Photo: DPA

Anyone who has spent any time in Germany at Christmas would know that sweets, baked treats and chocolates are a central component of the celebrations. 

But in the not-so-official Christmas rankings of the favourite sweet staple, gingerbread has come out on top, according to a study completed by German opinion researcher YouGov on behalf of the German Press Agency. 

Gingerbread took out top spot with 54 percent support, followed by spiced shortbread biscuit Spekulatius (Speculaas) with 50 percent. 

Chocolate Santa Clauses came in third at 41 percent, followed by Stollen (39 percent) and cinnamon stars (33 percent). 

Gingerbread, known as Lebkuchen (life cake) in German, has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. 

In 2013, some were concerned that the traditional baked cake had lost its lustre, after a sharp decline in sales

The rebound in popularity shows however that there still is life in the old cake, after all. 

Yougov opinion research institute surveyed almost 2,100 people aged 18 and over a few days before Christmas.