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Gemütlichkeit in a Cup

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

This time of year is very special in many parts of the world. In the US we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving and then, just a few weeks later, Christmas. In Germany, they are already beginning to ramp up for the holidays with their traditional Christmas Markets. A few of my favorites are the Christmas Market at Red City Hall in Berlin, the Spandau Christmas Market, the Basel Christmas Market and the first one I ever visited the Freiburg Christmas Market.

I need to digress here and discuss "Gemütlichkeit" for a moment. As you've probably already guessed, it's a German word. The best equivalent we have for it in English is "cozy". But cozy falls so far short of the meaning of Gemütlichkeit that it's almost embarrassing to make the comparison. You see, cozy is sitting on the couch with a blanket while a Wisco Home Goods candle burns nearby. Gemütlich is sitting on a couch with a blanket, in front of the fire place, with your dog at your side, sipping a cup of Feuerzangenbowle while you and the love of your life watch Everybody's Talking About Jamie for the 110th time. It's cozy times love times special times puppies. As I said, they aren't even to be compared.

If you've never been to a Christmas Market, you're missing out. They are all completely outdoors, so you bundle up and walk amongst the lights, doing your holiday shopping and, of course, sipping Feuerzangenbowle. It's as German as bratwurst and sauerkraut. The be

st part of the Christmas Market is that they are open all day. Most open around 10 a.m. and close by about 9 p.m.. So you can enjoy your Feuerzangenbowle whenever it is convenient for you. And people do. Also, there are none of those American cheapnesses added. Your cup is ceramic, and, yes, you paid a deposit for it. They are popular souvenirs, but if you don't want a souvenir you can get your money back. Well, enough of me espousing the superiority of German society. Do read on for the recipe.

For your enjoyment, I've translated a recipe for Feuerzangenbowle for you. It's a little bit of work, but you'll love it! Enjoy!



  • 2 bottles dry red wine

  • 2 oranges

2 lemons

  • 3-4 cloves

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • star anise to taste

  • sugar cubes

  • 136 proof Rum


  1. Wash the lemons and the oranges well. Juice one lemon and one orange. Cut

the remaining lemon and orange into thin slices with the rind still on.

  1. Combine the red wine and the freshly pressed juice in a pot and heat to about 170° F. ]Now add the fruit slices and the spices. Cover the pot and allow the punch to steep for about 15 minutes.

  2. Remove the punch from the stove and pour into cups.

  3. Drizzle the sugar cube with rum, place on an absinthe spoon and light on fire.

  4. The sugar will slowly caramelize and fall into the punch giving it an incomparable sweet taste.

  5. Once the sugar cube has fully burned, simply drop the absinthe spoon into the cup and enjoy!

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