We were at a German Christmas market last weekend in the town of Velburg when I saw a drink I’d never heard of. We see Gluhwein (hot, mulled wine), hot chocolate, and Kinderpunsch (non-alcoholic hot punch) at every Christmas market we go to, so when a new drink showed up on the menu last weekend, my curiosity joyfully kicked my comfort zone to the curb. Off came my gloves and out came my Euro; I was about to have my first Heisse Hugo.
What is a Heisse Hugo? Heisse means “hot”, and Hugo means “Hugo”. Whatever a Hugo was, this one was hot. Steam rose up from the cup and a mint leaf floated lackadaisically in the translucent tea-like drink. But something besides the temperature was warm about the Hot Hugo; it was also spiked.
Christmas Market bliss.
I’ve since looked up the Hot Hugo, so although I’ve yet to see it sold at another Christmas market, I know what goes into the it should I ever wish to recreate it at home. The ingredients? White wine, elderflower syrup, lemon or lime juice, and fresh mint.
I enjoyed the experience of trying a new and different hot drink so much that on our most recent Christmas market trip (in Kitzbuehl, Austria) I ordered the first drink on the menu that I didn’t recognize: the Heisse Maroni. You can imagine my surprise when they handed us a paper cup filled with piping hot roasted chestnuts.
Whether you stick with the beverages you know or spend your Christmas trying to drink hot nuts, I hope this holiday season finds you warm, safe, and surrounded by people you love.