What happens afterwards is what makes it special: First, a fire tong, which is a special metal kitchen utensil, gets placed over the bowl with the red wine.
This tong holds a Zuckerhut (sugar hat), a small mountain of sugar, which gets soaked in brown rum. Afterwards, you light the sugar mountain on fire. While the sugar melts, it caramelizes and drips, still burning, in the liquid below. This gives the beverage a distinct and very sugary taste.
A diagram of classic Christmas market drinks, including the Feuerzangenbowle. Photo: DPA.
Feuerzangenbowle is especially popular throughout the Christmas season and gets sold at many German Christmas markets. Due to its high alcohol content, it is especially famous among students.
A woman prepares Feuerzangenbowle at a Christmas market in Düsseldorf. Photo: DPA.
Even though the drink appeared in records as early as in the 19th century, its widespread popularity can be linked to the release of the 1944 film Die Feuerzangenbowle. This German movie starts with a group of elderly men, who are drinking the punch and talking about their school years.
Right up to the present day, the movie is shown in universities around Christmas time and is hugely popular. Students even bring their own mulled wine, flashlights and other props to participate in parts of the movie.
Könnte ich bitte eine Feuerzangenbowle haben?
Could I please have a burnt punch?
Ich mag keine Feuerzangenbowle, weil sie mir zu süß ist.
I don't like burnt punch because is too sweet for me.