Fire Tongs Punch

Fire Tongs Punch – Feuerzangenbowle / Krambamboli

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Fire Tongs Punch

In Germany, Fire Tongs Punch is as much a part of New Year’s Eve as New Year’s Eve itself. This warm red wine, rum, and spice concoction goes back to the 19th century and became very popular again with the release of the filmDie Feuerzangenbowle(translated: “Fire Tongs Punch”) in 1944. In this movie, a famous German actor, Heinz Ruehman, plays the main role. Both the movie and the drink have become cult classics and are enjoyed even by the younger generations. Every year, on New Year’s Eve, this sweet punch is served, creating a lot of fun and excitement while waiting for the clock to strike twelve. When the sugar cubes on top of the punch bowl are lit, it creates quite a spectacle. Here is how to make it this crowd-pleasing punch…

Ingredients for Punch:

  • 2 liters of red wine—dry (2 ½ – 3 bottles)
  • 350 ml of rum—minimum of 54% alcohol (otherwise it will not burn)
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 aniseed stars
  • ½ tablespoon of orange peel
  • Juice from one orange
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 3 juniper berries
  • ½ tablespoon of chopped ginger
  • 250 g of sugar cubes

Making Fire Tongs Punch recipe

Preparation of Punch:

Place the cloves, aniseed stars, ginger, orange peel, and juniper berries in an infuser or in a meshed tea ball.

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Pour the wine in a large pot. Squeeze the orange and lemon juice into a bowl and then pour it through a fine strainer (to remove the pulp) and add the juice into the pot with wine. Heat all the liquids and drop in the infuser filled with the spices. The temperature should be warm, not hot, and make sure you do not bring it to a boil. When the liquid has been heated, let it cool down for a bit.

Fill a punch bowl with the wine mixture. Hang the infuser/tea ball in the punch bowl. Place the bowl carefully on a fondue stand or a pot stand and put a fondue burner or Sterno burner underneath to keep the wine warm throughout the evening.

To finish off the Fire Tongs Punch, place your special sugar tong with a sugar cone, or a metal grater with piled sugar cubes, over the opening of the punch bowl (see pictures). If you used cubes, arrange them close together in the middle of a metal grater (metal holder/see below). 

Note: German-made tongs used to make Feuerzangenbowle get it here and sugar cone get it here.  You could also order a fire tongs punch set here.

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In order for the sugar to burn, pour some rum over the sugar cone or the sugar cubes and make sure the sugar has absorbed sufficient rum. Light the sugar cubes with a long matchstick. With a ladle, slowly add the rest of the rum while the sugar is burning. As soon as you light the sugar it will melt and drop through the holes of the tong/grater into your wine. Once all the sugar has dissolved, take the infuser out of the bowl and your Punch is ready to be served. You can serve the Punch in punch glasses or glasses with handles.

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Cheers and best wishes for the New Year! Oma

(Click the links to watch the movie “Die Feuerzangenbowle” with English subtitles).

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Click here to watch the movie “Die Feuerzangenbowle” (1944) Part 1 (with English subtitles)

Click here to watch the movie “Die Feuerzangenbowle” (1944) Part 2 (with English subtitles)

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  • Tim Daoust

    You can easily make your own sugar cone. Buy standard granulated sugar and fill a mug with the sugar. Next, pour the sugar from the mug into a large mixing bowl. Wet your hands. Using only the water remaining on your hands knead the sugar, working the moisture through the sugar in the bowl. You will notice that the sugar will start to stick but it will not dissolve. Pack the sugar back into the mug tightly, turn the mug upside down on a baking tray, and tap the top of the mug. The sugar will fall out onto the tray as a perfect cone. Bake the cone on very low heat for about an hour.

    • The Oma Way

      Tim, thank you so much for this great tip and for sharing it with us. Never heard of it, but even Omas can learn something new. I will try it for sure. Thanks again. Yours, Oma