My very favorite memory from living in Germany is going to the Christmas markets in December. In every town, the market square is transformed into a holiday wonderland. Charming stalls go up from which vendors sell their handmade crafts, food, and drink. It feels like stepping into the magic of Christmas!
I only got to spend two Christmases in Germany. But both times, I made sure to visit as many Christmas markets as I could.
Every town in Germany – as with Austria and Switzerland – has a Weihnachtsmarkt. And every town has its own special Christmas mug. So as you stroll through the wonderland, you can keep warm as you sip your hot drink. For the adults, there is Glühwein, a mulled wine with spices like cinnamon and cloves that is served piping hot. For me it was an acquired taste. But as I made my way from one market to another – Freiburg, Mainz, Worms, Nürnberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Rüdesheim, and Innsbruck, just to name a few – I came to love that warm red wine that tasted like it was flavored with Christmas itself.
As I was only in Germany as an adult, I never bothered to try the children’s version of Glühwein. For them, there is an alcohol-free Kinderpunsch. Since I was visiting Froggy’s 1st & 2nd grade class today to share some of Germany’s Christmas traditions, I decided to bring them some Kinderpunsch. I found a few recipes online and tried them out until I got it right. Of course, I had no idea how it should really taste! So AP3 helped out 🙂 She had never made it herself, but she certainly knew if I’d gotten it right or not.
Here is the recipe that I came up with:
- 1 liter of fruit tea (I used Celestial Seasonings decaffeinated rooibos pomegranate tea)
- 1 liter of orange juice
- 1 liter of grape juice
- about 1/2 packet (about 5g) of vanilla sugar (I found Dr Oetker’s at my grocery store in the international section. I’ve also bought some from Savory Spice Shop.)
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3-5 whole cloves
- 1 small lemon, sliced
Brew the tea in a pot. Then add the remaining ingredients and heat on low. I put my cinnamon sticks and cloves in a muslin bag, so they would be easy to remove. The longer you let the punch simmer, the more time it has to blend the ingredients. Serve warm and enjoy!
The children had mixed reactions, of course! Some loved it. For others, it was not quite their cup of tea!