How to make Erdbeerbowle

Because, trust us, you will want to


My friends Luz, Rita and I decided that Munich would be our second stop of our whirlwind tour of Europe during Semana Santa (Spanish spring break), and the day before we left Paris, I got a pressing call from my dad.

“Grandpa told me to give you this phone number. It’s for your distant German cousins. They showed up on their Florida doorway 15 years ago, and he wants you to do the same. They live just outside of Munich.”

Luz and Rita were game to visit some German relatives of mine whom I’d never met so we called them. After a couple of different calls, we got through to my cousin Andrea, who spoke flawless English, and soon we had directions to Burgheim, a tiny hamlet in the Bavarian countryside. They welcomed us with open arms. Grandma Zita, Mama Ita, cousins Marcus, Franz and Andrea and several other distant cousins took the three of us in. They plied us with lots of filling German food, and we slept on the most sumptuous of feather beds. 

They had a tiny farm, with the cleanest cow barn I’d ever seen (and I’ve never seen such a clean cow home since, and after writing three books on cheese, I know cow barns). They took us to castles and out to dinner, and they introduced us to German wine. Being an ignorant college student who attended college in a Germanic, American city with lots of breweries, I hadn’t realized that Germans not only made really good beer, they also made really good wine.

You might also be surprised to learn that Germans also make some great wine cocktails. 

You’ve probably heard of the German version of mulled wine - glühwein - but there’s another equally delicious yet seasonally opposite drink: Erdbeerbowle. Pronounced “Erd-beer-bow-le,” it translates to strawberry (erdbeer) punch (bowle).  

But it really should be known as the German version of sangria. Tart yet sweet, this punchbowl of a sangria is made with fresh strawberries, lemon juice and lemon zest and two types of wine - white wine and sparkling wine. 

It really is the perfect summer cocktail. It’s also great for bridging cultural divides between relatives who are just meeting for the first time. Prost!


715g ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced or cut in half

200g sugar

60ml fresh lemon juice (juice of about 1 and 1/4 lemons)

Zest from 1 lemon

1 bottle white wine, chilled

1 bottle sparkling wine, chilled

Lemon wheels or wedges and mint for garnish

In a large pitcher, stir together strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let sit, at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes. Pour bottle of white wine on top, and refrigerate for one more hour. To serve, pour and stir in sparkling wine, then garnish individual servings with lemon wheels and mint. Makes about 8 to 10 servings. 

Note: You can also add some orange or citrus bitters (about 2 to 3 dashes), and you can add 30ml of a liqueur like orange or elderflower or berry, if you so desire.

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