Die Apfelschorle is a popular drink in Germany, consisting of sparkling mineral water mixed with apple juice. The broader category ‘Fruchtschorle’ contains any fruit juice mixed with sparkling water, but Apfelschorle is the most common. Wine mixed with mineral water is called Weinschorle. Apfelschorle contains fewer calories and is less sweet than pure apple juice, making it popular in summer and among athletes. Commercially available Apfelschorle contains 55-60% juice; brands include Lift, Gerolsteiner, Rhodius, and Bizzl, but most people and restaurants mix it from actual apple juice and sparkling mineral water.
In Germany, New Year’s Eve is called Silvester. It's a huge event with special foods, public and private fireworks all over the place, a lot of Sekt (champagne) and assorted alcohol inside and on the street, and some traditions very particular to Germany. As a cult thing for many, the evening traditionally starts with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn9vPG8s4ss - an obscure, old 1963 sketch that somehow became a German tradition for Silvester night. (Possibly even more fun with some alcohol already in your system . :D)
Many German New Year’s traditions can be traced back to the pagan Rauhnächte practices of heathen Germanic tribes, which took place in late December and early January. Instead of recognizing a single day as the winter solstice, the tribes observed 12 Rauhnächte. Bringing very little sun to the northern regions, these 12 nights were considered days outside of time, when the solar and lunar years were allowed to re-synchronise. Silvester took place right in the middle of it and was the night of the god Wotan’s wild hunt, a time of particular commotion and celebration.
Germany celebrates Silvester with fireworks, champagne, and boisterous social gatherings. Making noise is key - music, fireworks, firecrackers, drums, whip-cracking, and banging kitchen utensils has been driving away evil spirits since the days of the old Teutons. One of the most famous German firework displays happens in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. Private celebrations and house parties with all kinds of fireworks in the streets and gardens are also common. Since this happens everywhere and there’s a party mood and public drinking all around, some foreign visitors describe Germany on New Year’s Eve as a war zone… ;) On the flip side, when we travel elsewhere where Silvester isn’t as happening as in Germany, we usually wonder why there’s no one partying and shooting off fireworks in the streets. The Rauhnächte were also a time when the future for the New Year could be divined. Silvester in Germany still calls for oracles in the form of party games. Another current tradition involves Krapfen (jelly-filled freshly baked donuts), cake, and champagne at midnight. Parties often last to the daylight hours. For good luck in the new year, acquaintances may give good luck charms to each other in the form of ladybugs, four-leafed clovers, horseshoes, and marzipan pigs.
So Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr to all and have fun tonight! :)
Eierpunsch is a hot sweetened alcoholic drink from Germany that is commonly found at Christmas markets - but it’s easy to make at home. As usual, there are many variations. Here’s one recipe:
1 bottle of white wine (750 ml) ~ 4 eggs (or 8 yolks) ~ 5 tablespoons of sugar - 1 packet of vanilla sugar (or 2 tsp sugar + 1 tsp vanilla extract) ~ Pinch of cinnamon ~ 4 cloves ~ lemon juice ~ 250 ml of strong black tea ~ whipped cream ~ 50 ml dark rum (optional)
Prepare tea as usual; allow to cool. Whisk sugar into the eggs (or yolks) and add a little cold white wine; beat vigorously. Add vanilla sugar to the mix. Pour in the remaining white wine, cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice, and cooled tea. Optionally, add 50 ml of dark rum. Transfer mix to a pan and gently heat, but don’t let it heat too quickly, remove before it comes to the boil. The mix should be foaming. Remove cloves. Serve hot and foamy in a mug with whipped cream on top and a biscuit. Prost! :)