Feuerzangenbowle - flaming red wine punch party

FEUERZANGENBOWLE (flaming red wine punch party)

Sugar culture in Vienna began with the sugar hat, an extremely fine crystal sugar which was finely ground and pressed. For centuries this was the standard way of manufacturing sugar until it eventually was used less and less and then forgotten. There is a story behind the decline of the sugar hat as a customary business trade, in which Jakob Christoph Rad and his wife played a significant role.

Jakob Christoph Rad (1799-1872) became the director of the sugar factory originally owned by the fodder beet pioneer Franz Grebner. At the time, the factory was already widely known. Rad, who because of his career success became known as the Daniel Düsentrieb of the Danube monarchy (Daniel Düsentrieb was the inventor of an optical telegraph system who was granted a scholarship from the Emperor in the region of 3000 Gulders) went into expansion and bought a fruit farm and a chocolate factory. Juliane Rad had many social obligations to fulfil because of her husband’s position. As an industrial wife, she was obliged to invite her working colleagues regularly to lunch. One warm August day, as one of these groups of "freeloaders" arrived at Julianes for lunch, she showed them her wound, which she had got whilst hacking sugar, and she said jokingly:

"You’d think that the gentlemen would have invented something by now so that people didn’t have to cut themselves all the time when hacking sugar".

During lunch, the topic of safety and injury at work from the hacking of sugar hats with sharp knives, tongs and saws came up and was discussed, and it was Mrs. Rad who said: it must be possible to produce cube-shaped pieces of sugar for the household. The newly-wed young husband then felt challenged, and just three months later he presented her with a pretty little case containing three hundred and fifty red and white sugar cubes. That is how the sugar lump was born.

The Viennese sugar hat has recently been rediscovered and is being used again as an ingredient in beverages like the "Feuerzangenbowle" on harsh winter nights and at spring and summer festivals. The main reason for the rediscovery of the sugar hat was sentimental nostalgia, and it is now being manufactured again in small quantities.



1 whole orange 1 whole lemon 5 cloves 1 cinnamon stick 1 Vienna sugar hat 3 fl. red wine (0.71) 1/4 L of  rum (min. 60 % Alc.)

Wiener Zucker   Feuerzangenbowle



Wash the orange and lemon thoroughly under hot water and then dry them off. Peel the rinds of the citrus fruits as thinly as possible into spiral shapes. Empty the wine into a kettle or a corresponding large pot. Lay the "Feuerzange" grid over the kettle. Put the sugar hat on the grid and pour rum over it and then light it. Keep the flames burning by ladling more rum on to the sugar hat until the sugar has completely melted and dripped into the wine. Serve the punch in heat-proof glasses.