It’s that most wonderful time of year again in Germany: Christmas Market season! Bands of friends and family meet day and night this month to stroll through stands of handmade crafts, tasty street food, and, of course, warm seasonal drinks served in decorative ceramic mugs. As the drinks go hand in hand with the warm sense of holiday cheer, this week I break down some typical favorites and a few other interesting ones I’ve encountered at the Christmas Markets.
Glühwein is your standard Christmas Market drink. Hot mulled wine is a good choice to warm up from the inside out on any market visit. Traditionally Glühwein is made with red wine, but variations with white wine or even rosé can also be found. It suits any afternoon or evening that requires a hat and gloves, and goes particularly well with Currywurst and fries or a gingerbread dessert.
Eisbrecher, or ice breaker, kicks Glühwein up a notch with a shot of rum. Try this when you’re out late on a Friday or Saturday night looking to chat up other fest-goers and/or unselfconsciously practice your German. Many variations exist with shots of all different kinds of alcohol (mit Schuβ = with shot).
Feuerzangenbowle is a rum punch with fruit and wine simmered in a copper cauldron, usually with a rum-soaked sugar cone lit on fire dripping over it. This drink is perfect for especially cold evenings while browsing the stands or chatting with friends after dinner.
Lumumba, hot cocoa with a shot of rum, brings an adult twist to a childhood favorite. It can be served with whipped cream for an added touch of nostalgia. Try this when you need some extra encouragement to ice skate or are simply looking for a substitute for Glühwein. Similar variations substitute a shot of amaretto or Bailey’s or add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Bombardino is a concoction of eggnog and whiskey topped with whipped cream that I found newly added to this year’s market in Basel, Switzerland. It’s a good way to kick off the weekend or celebrate a special occasion.
Heisse Frosch, or hot frog, is another new creation of the Basel Christmas Market combining green vodka with peppermint tea. I couldn’t bring myself to try this weird mix, but would suggest that you make this your last drink of the night if it sounds appealing to you.
Prost & Frohes Fest!
What are your favorite (or most unusual) Christmas Market drinks?