RÜDESHEIM ON THE RHINE
Rhine Cruise Stop and Rüdesheimer Coffee
Rudesheim on the Rhine is one of the most visited towns along the romantic middle Rhine River with its hilltop castles and wine vineyards, a popular stop for the river cruise ships making the journey from Basel to Cologne. The Drosselgasse, originally a 15th Century shipping port market lane, is now a pedestrian zone full of handsomely decorated restaurants, wine taverns and open air gardens with live band entertainment, leading to the half-timber medieval town square, the heart of the old town and its principal attraction for tourists.
First established as a wine growing town in the Roman era, Rudesheim was once reached by bridge from Bingen across the river, but the bridge is gone, so the river today is crossed by ferry, a journey of a few minutes except when traffic is heavy. The rail lines from Weisbaden, carrying mostly freight traffic, but the occasional passenger local along the Rheingau east bank of the river, rumble steadily past the quant old town of narrow streets of wine cellars, restaurants and specialty shops, while the cruise ships anchor at the river docks for excursions of tour passengers to venture ashore, for wine tasting and souvenir shopping. But while in Rudesheim on the Rhine, the experience is not complete without a sample of the local signature alcoholic brew - and I don’t mean beer.
One of the first sights you see if crossing by ferry or following the river from the north around the legendary siren’s rock which lured river sailors to their doom is the former Asbach liqueur factory which along with wine provided this Rhineland town with its identity and its signature drink, the Rüdesheimer Coffee. The late night brew of caffeine and whiskey called Irish Coffee may be more famous, this cocktail has been a specialty holiday drink of choice in Germany for almost 60 years. I recently had a chance to sample the Rüdesheimer Coffee in the traditional atmosphere of the Rüdesheim Schloss Hotel, made for me before my eyes by the well-practiced waiter. After the delicious sweet comfort drink and a hearty meal I must admit to a rather deep sleep in the arms of a dreamed beckoning Lorelei.
The Rüdesheimer Coffee recipe, mixing Asbach Uralt liquour with two cubes of sugar, lighting on fire, then adding coffee, vanilla flavored whipped cream, and sprinkled with grated dark chocolate was invented by Hans Adam in 1957 and has become a favorite in Germany, especially at holiday time. Hugo Asbach arrived in Rüdesheim on the Rhine from his home in France in 1892. Having worked in the distilleries of Cognac, distilling wine into brandy, Aspach set about to create a product that would rival the French libation supreme while catering to German tastes, creating his brandy licquer, Asbach Uralt. In 1907, Asbach teamed with wine merchant Albert Sturm, expanding the company, and over the past 100 years has been a household name in Germany and its unique coffee drink a holiday tradition.
Beyond the shops and wine tasting, and during the holidays, one of Germany’s charming Christmas Markets, a guided tour of Siegfried's Mechanical Music Box Museum and the town’s Rheingau Wine Museum in the medieval Brömserburg Castle are highlights of Rudesheim, as well as a ride in the Rudesheim Sielbahn cable gondola to walk the trails through the wine vineyards on the hillsides above, and a visit to the Niederwald Monument, standing watch over the river valley below. © Bargain Travel Europe
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