Thanksgiving for pyromaniacs

Hello, lovelies, can you believe it's already December?! We just got back yesterday from a spontaneous mini-vacation in Barcelona, which has inexplicably left me feeling jet-lagged despite the lack of time difference (I'm blaming it on 10pm dinners—how do those Spaniards do it?). I can't wait to tell you all about it, but first I wanted to share a little something from our Thanksgiving celebration last week.

For CM's birthday this year, my parents sent him a special pot for making Feuerzangenbowle (Fire Tong Punch, obvs), a traditional German Christmas punch. My first reaction was that a kitchen appliance was a completely bizarre present to send someone who is living out of suitcases while his belongings are in storage on another continent, but then I realized I was being narrow-minded and that it was actually totally brilliant and a perfect excuse to get tipsy and light things on fire.

Here's how you make it. You pour 2–3 bottles of red wine into a pot on the stove. We used Beaujolais Nouveau ('tis the season), but you could use any kind. Throw in a couple cups of orange juice, slice up an orange and a lemon, add a cinnamon stick, a handful of whole cloves, and a couple star anise, and heat it all up together. Your kitchen will smell divine.

Then you pour the hot wine mixture into the special pot, which sits over a little tea light to keep it warm. The pot comes with a metal grate that you set across the top. On top of the grate you put a sugar cone (Zuckerhut—literally translated, Sugar Hat), which is a thing you can buy in the Austrian grocery store for precisely this purpose.

Then you pour highly alcoholic rum (we used Austrian Stroh rum, it's 160 proof!) over the entire sugar cone so it gets soaked through.

Now here's the fun part. You light that rum-soaked sugar on fire! Turn out the lights so you can admire how pretty it is.

The sugar caramelizes and drips slowly into the punch, making it oh so delicious.

Once the fire's out, you drink.

Or, alternatively, if it's not fiery enough for you, you can also pour more rum onto the lit sugar until everyone screams that you're going to burn the ceiling.

THEN you drink.

If you want to try it but you're not in Feuerzangenbowle country, you can buy a set here, although if you don't feel like paying $99(!), you could also use the fondue pot gathering dust in your cupboard and just buy the $10 grate to put on top. You can also buy a Zuckerhut here or you can make your own. For best results, you should use something like Bacardi 151.

Photos by CameraMan with a couple iPhone shots of my own thrown in.


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