Especially in German-speaking regions, Christmas markets have had a long tradition. In some cases, the roots of the oldest markets date back to the 14th century. There is hardly a city in Germany where the markets’ wooden booths and sellers’ stands are not up and running for at least one weekend, beguiling visitors with crafts, sweets and hot food and drinks. Meanwhile, the tradition has found its way into neighboring countries. Christmas markets have even been gaining a foothold in the United Kingdom and the United States since the 1990s.
Before the Wine Was Warmed
Mulled wine is an absolutely essential part of any Christmas market. It is red wine heated to a maximum of 78°C, to which sugar and spices are added. The spices include cinnamon, cloves, anise, and orange or lemon peels. Incidentally, adding spices to the wine is not a modern invention. The writings of ancient Rome reveal how wine can be enhanced with honey and spices. This not only sweetens the wine — it increases its lifespan as well. The notion of heating wine came into fashion in the early 20th century, especially for the colder times of the year.
All Kinds of Choices
Just as the array of drinks has expanded in supermarkets and restaurants, a growing number of hot drinks – above and beyond warmed wine – are now being peddled at Christmas markets. The traditional red mulled wine is even available as a white wine or apple wine variation. If you mix white wine with sugar, cinnamon and egg liquor, you end up with Eierpunsch, literally “egg punch,” which is also becoming more popular.
A relative of mulled wine from Scandinavia — Glögg — is now on the menu at these markets. It is made by adding a shot of corn schnapps, vodka or rum to spiced red wine, plus almonds and raisins. Feuerzangenbowle, literally “fire-tongs punch,” is a classic. Here rum-drenched sugar drips into a kettle containing warm, spiced red wine. Last winter, a trendy drink known as Roweka began making the rounds. It is red wine mixed with hot cocoa. Dark cocoa and optimally a semi-dry wine ought to ensure that it does not become too sweet. On the other hand, Jagertee, literally “hunter’s tea,” is a hot black tea containing sugar and rum. It is one of the mainstays of Christmas market booths once again. To make a similar drink, Grog, you simply substitute hot water for the tea.
More Interest in Punch
But it is Kinderpunsch, or children’s punch, that has enjoyed the greatest rise in popularity at Christmas markets in recent years. Also sold as bio-punch, this drink is made from tea, juices and spices, but does without alcohol. So it won’t elicit the outright hangover that plagues some Christmas market visitors the next morning, and drivers won’t have to face a moral dilemma if they get behind the wheel. In any case, this hot drink is now popular among large and small visitors alike.
Whether the drink is a punch or mulled wine, it is usually prepared in large heating vessels and dispensed using a spigot. It would not be unlikely for a seal from Freudenberg Sealing Technologies to be installed inside it. The company has developed special sealing materials and configurations that manufacturers like to use. So the next time you visit a Christmas market, your hot drink might be prepared in equipment sealed by a Freudenberg product.
Would you like to learn more about Freudenberg products for the Food & Beverage segment? You can find out more here.