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Butter Grog, A German Christmas Drink Plus What's Your Favorite Holiday Beverage?

by on ‎12-16-2013 07:26 PM

Hello, foodies…

We’re getting so close! We’ve got a little over a week for the big holiday and I’m feeling the crunch! I’ve finished nearly all my shopping. But I haven’t started wrapping. And, this weekend I’m hosting a holiday party! It’s going to be a busy couple of days…how about you? Are you feeling the Christmas crunch? Or, are you done with the bustle and ready for the fun?!

Whether you need some company while you wrap gifts or you still have some shopping to finish, join me this Wednesday night on In the Kitchen with David…we’re heading to Germany for “Christmas Around the World” month. And, we’re making a German specialty I know you’ll want to make and enjoy over the next few weeks: Butter Grog.

Butter Grog

Butter Grog
Serves 4

This recipe is prepared with the Temp-tations® Old World Set of 4 Mugs with Figural Spoon (H201205).

Go to David's Recipe Item Page for the full list of items that David has used in his recipes.

Tip: To make this Butter Grog an alcoholic drink, simply replace the rum extract with 3-4 oz of your favorite rum.

Ingredients:

•    1-1/2 Tbsp butter
•    4 cups apple cider
•    1 Tbsp brown sugar
•    4 whole cloves
•    2 cinnamon sticks
•    Peel from 1 lemon
•    Peel and juice from 1 orange
•    1" piece ginger root, sliced
•    2 tsp rum extract

Directions:

1.    Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan. Add the cider, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, lemon and orange peels, orange juice, and ginger. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and then remove pan from the heat. Add the rum extract. Let the mixture steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain and reheat to serve warm.

Foodies, some of you may not know it, but Mary QVC has lived in a lot of places. Her father was in the Army, so they moved from state to state and she even lived in Germany for about eight years. I sat down with Mary to find out what she remembered about Christmas in Deutschland.

David: What are some of the most popular Christmas customs in Germany?
Mary QVC: Well, before Christmas ever comes, Germans celebrate St. Nikolaus Day on December 6, where St. Nick visits overnight and in the morning you’ll find candy, clementines, and chocolate in your boot if you were good. But, if you were bad, you get coal and you would have gotten a beating from St. Nick with his stick!

I also remember the Christkindl. It’s this outdoor Christmas market where you can get everything from heisse maronen (hot chestnuts that come in paper cones) to gluhwein (hot, spiced red wine) to handmade wooden Christmas ornaments customized on the spot. The whole thing was probably created just for American tourists and we loved every square inch of it.

Christkindl ornament
(See that wooden ornament on the tree? That was from Christkindl.)

David: Where did you live? Did your family have any special traditions?
Mary QVC: Frankfurt, Hanau, and Tansus. We were born in America so we had traditions like making cookies, but we adopted some German ones like having personalized advent calendars. Most are made out of wood and are something you keep for a lifetime. You can buy disposable ones in the grocery store, but we got the real ones. And, we made all the little things that went in each door…little Christmas ornaments. I remember one year my sister and I did origami stars. Every German has a calendar and everyone fills each other’s calendars with little personal trinkets. Danny and I have a giant advent calendar now and we share it. I take the odd days and he takes the evens.

We also were sure to light the Adventskranz, which is an advent wreath. It has four candles on it and you light a candle every Sunday in December; the last you light on Christmas Eve.

David: Is Christmas Eve just as important as Christmas Day?
Mary QVC: It really is. Everyone goes to church, you come home and eat, then, while you were at church the Christkind (Christ child) brought you presents. Christmas Day is more about family time. We always sang carols on the 25th and when we moved to Germany, we added German Christmas songs (like O Tannenbaum) into Christmas day rotation. We had Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, of course…there was a lot of goose, venison, and game. There’s no ham and turkey stigma in Germany—you could eat more exotic things.

Speaking of unusual foods, I’m reminded of Frau Novak—she was our housekeeper in Germany. Like most Germans, she gave back-breaking hugs and she was the first to introduce us to eel. Her husband was a fisherman and she cooked up eel for us one night and it was delicious. Seeing the eels swim around in our bathtub before cooking them was not so pleasant….

David: What other kinds of food did you enjoy at Christmas?
Mary QVC: I seem to remember lots of apple dishes and there was always fondue made from simple ingredients. No oils—just cheese and beer. We dipped bread and anything my mom would let me. I would have put my head in there if she had taken her eyes off me for a second…

Mary's Family in Germany
(Here’s my family in front of our Tansus home. These were our neighbors and dear friends.)

Thank you, Mary. I can just taste that homemade fondue now...I think I just might make one for dinner along with a mug of Butter Grog to wash it all down.

For today’s blog question, tell me what’s your favorite holiday beverage. Do you like eggnog, mulled cider, hot cocoa, gluhwein? I just love my Snowball Cosmopolitans. I’ll see you on Wednesday at 8pm ET.

Keep it flavorful!
—David