A quasi-guest-post by my brother, Mike, here – we had the joy of sharing a Christmas celebration at his house this year (and for a good solid week, I’ve been completely absent from the internet!) I’d witnessed the creation of a Feuerzangenbowle before, but this time I was able to get some instruction, and video (see link below).
The basics are this: Use flaming rum to melt a sugar loaf into mulled sweet wine.
That, in and of itself, sounds delectable – the spectacle of the actual creation makes it an event!
Start with a sweet-ish red wine. Mike has had success with Spanish Grenach varieties. Use 3 bottles in a large pot, and to this add 2 halved oranges and 2 halved lemons, and allow them to soak (like a sangria). You can also add cinnamon sticks and clove, to your taste. Heat this concoction while stirring over low heat until it begins to give off steam, just as you would make a normal mulled wine.
Literally, this is a “sugar loaf”, but given that it’s conical, the description “sugar hat” also works! My brother makes these with about 2 cups of sugar and a Tablespoon of water, mixed and allowed to crystallize and solidify in a 16-oz. pint glass. Place the zuckerhut on a fire-proof grating suspended over the pot. Originally this was done with a simple set of tongs from the fireplace – we used a cheese grater.
Rum and Fire
You’ll need a full 700ml (70cl) of white rum. Start with a shot glass to control volume, and start pouring it, slowly, over the zuckerhut. The sugar will absorb the first few shots. After a couple – light the loaf on fire! It should start to blaze away in a lovely blue alcohol flame. You can now begin adding the remainder of the rum – in small doses – aiming to have all the rum poured over the sugar just as the final bit of the zuckerhut melts. In the meantime, you’ll have flaming sugar-rum goodness dripping into the wine below. This process is hypnotic – and a great group activity!
Ladle the mulled fire-wine into mugs and enjoy!
Now – I called this a “Wilderness Chef” recipe. Obviously we did it in a kitchen – but I can’t help but think that this could be done either identically with a group and a campfire – or even in miniature, with pre-formed sugar cubes and a titanium spoon, over a half-liter of wine (somehow absinthe comes to mind).
I will have to try a pack-portable version of this!
Get Out There!