Having Coffee in Rüdesheim Germany

Recently we spent a little time in the very picturesque town of Rüdesheim Germany with a local coffee being one of the afternoons highlights.

Rüdesheim am Rhein in the heart of Rhine wine country is a town that has become maybe too cute for words. A favorite day trip destination for area Germans, its streets are packed with cafes, restaurants and gift shops. The town is also famous for its local brandy and Rudesheimer Coffee. The center of the cafe district is Drosselgasse, a walking passage that takes you past wine gardens, shops, restaurants and cafes.

The fortunes of the town are indebted to a local distiller. In 1892 Hugo Asbach opened the company Asbach & Co. in Rüdesheim. He created a brandy giving it his name and it remains as popular in Germany today as it was in the late nineteenth century. In 1937 the company coined a marketing slogan that added to the fortunes of the brand, “The spirit of wine is in Asbach”.

in 1957 Rudesheimer Coffee was created, a popular coffee drink with Asbach and cream that has become the signature drink in the town and is served in every good Café. Similar to Irish Coffee it is the perfect hot drink for the winter months and special occasions. There is even a signature shaped cup that’s supposed to be used with this concoction.

Recipe for Rudesheimer Coffee


1.5 ounces Asbach Uralt Brandy

3 cubes of sugar

Hot coffee (regular or decaf)

Whipped cream sweetened with vanilla sugar

Grated milk chocolate



– Warm the brandy by using a double boiler or very low flame in a pan. Do not bring to a boil!.

– Place 2-3 cubes of sugar in an original Rudesheimer Coffee cup, and pour over the heated Asbach and light it by using a long match.

– Stir with a long-handled spoon to dissolve the sugar completely.

– Let it burn for about 1 minute, then pour in hot coffee to about 1 inch below the rim.

– Top off with freshly whipped cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate or dust with cocoa.

Don’t have any Asbach Brandy (it’s not available in the U.S.) or the proper cup? We wouldn’t let that get in the way because this recipe is a good challenger to Irish Coffee. Substitute any good brandy and a tall mug, but follow the recipe.



Vineyards grow everywhere around Rüdesheim


Passau Cathedral Germany

Located in Passau, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is a baroque church dating back to 1688 and dedicated to Saint Stephen, Christianity’s first martyr.

The first church was built in 730 AD on the site of the current cathedral. The current cathedral is an impressive baroque structure dominating the center of Passau 328 ft. in length and was constructed from 1668 to 1693 after a fire in 1662 destroyed the previous church. That fire destroyed the entire city and seemed to have left the church standing. In thanks the city held a celebration and when firing cannons in salute the vibrations collapsed all but one exterior wall.

Passau Cathedral is home to the largest organ outside of the United States and the largest cathedral organ in the world. The organ currently has 17,774 pipes and 233 stops, all of which can be played with a five section general console in the gallery. Some portions of the organ can be controlled by a mechanical and electrical action additional console, for a total of six consoles. There are very popular daily concerts conducted in the cathedral with some by notable guest musicians. While not a concert Arnold Schwarzenegger was recently allowed to play the organ and upon finishing he is reported to have exclaimed “I’ll be back.”

The cathedral also has eight large bells in the bell rooms in the north and south towers with the heaviest, weighing over eight tons.


The Romantic Rhine


The “Middle Rhine” is one of four sections (High Rhine, Upper Rhine, Middle Rhine, Lower Rhine) of the river between Lake Constance and the North Sea. The upper half of the Middle Rhine (Rhine Gorge) from Bingen (Rhine-kilometer 526) to Koblenz (Rhine-kilometer 593) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (designated in 2002) with more than 40 castles and fortresses from the Middle Ages along its banks along with many picturesque wine villages. The lower half from Koblenz (Rhine-kilometer 593) to Bonn (Rhine-kilometer 655) is also known as “the romantic Rhine”.

Probably the best way to see the historic Middle Rhine with its vineyards and castles is by spending a day on a river cruise. You will find a good selection of available cruises HERE.

The statue of Loreley

At Rhine-kilometer 655 the river takes a sharp bend around a rocky promontory with flags flying from its summit and a large statue at river level commemorating the legend of Loreley . Parts of the legend date back to the middle ages and involve the dangerous waters and the sound the river makes flowing past the rock. Lorelei, Lore Lay or Loreley, refers to a large rock on the bank at a narrows of the Rhine River near Sankt Goarshausen, Germany. The rock is associated with a legend of a beautiful maiden who threw herself into the Rhine in despair over a faithless lover and was transformed into a siren who sang an irresistible song attracting boatmen to their destruction in the rivers currents and rocks.

A good map showing the castles along the Rhine in this area can be found HERE.


Marksburg Castle

Marksburg sits high above the Rhine

The highlight of the day was a visit to Marksburg Castle. The original name was Burg Braubach, the Marksburg Castle sits atop a high hill overlooking the Rhine River. Marksburg Castle is most famous as the only castle on the Middle Rhine to avoid destruction or serious damage thru its over eight hundred year history. The Marksburg Castle came under serious attack in 1945, when it received artillery fire from American forces attempting to dislodge Nazi forces inside the castle. Damage even then was minor.

The castle came under attack and seige a number of times but was never captured or destroyed.

In 1135 the castle and half the town of Braubach were the property of the Archbishop of Mainz, a member of the house of Eppstein. His family owned the castle until 1283. The last Eppstein to have claim to the castle married Eberhard von Katzenelnbogen and when she died the castle became the property of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen until 1479.

With the death of Count Philipp the Elder in 1479, the county of Katzenelnbogen passed to the Landgraves of Hesse through a benefactress, the daughter, who was married to the Landgrave Phillip II. The Marksburg Castle was attacked a number of times during the 30 years war and during Louis XIV’s campaigns again in the 17th century.

Another interesting aspect of this castle is that it was used as part of the foundation for the early video game Castle Wolfenstein where players hunted Nazi’s inside an old castle.


Since 1900, The Marksburg has been home to the Association for the Preservation of German Castles (Deutsche Burgenvereiningung) and along with tours offers exhibits of armor, a dungeon with implements of torture and rooms furnished with typical period pieces.

Traveling With A Starbucks Card

Starbucks is becoming as ubiquitous as McDonalds around the world. We have become accustomed to looking for these outlets as we travel. While we are not huge fans you can expect a consistent coffee offering along with free WiFi from Starbucks as you travel.

We just got home from Europe and we just jumped to conclusions about using our Starbucks Gold Card in Europe from our experience on previous trips. Several years ago we cautiously started using a Starbucks card to purchase coffee in various cities. Over time we came to expect it to work everywhere.

While traveling in Australia and Ireland we were very surprised at how the process worked. After paying with the balance on our card we would get a receipt that showed the amount used in local currency along with the card balance expressed in Dollars and local currency.

After this trip a correction is in order. We were in Hungary, Austria and Germany and our card wouldn’t work at all. Checking the Starbucks web site we found the following statement:

Starbucks Cards activated in any of the participating countries can be used to make purchases and be reloaded in any other participating country. Starbucks Cards must first be activated by loading money onto the card in the country of purchase before being used internationally. The participating countries are; UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the Republic of Ireland.

I guessed we jumped to conclusions based on too small a sampling. The good news is the coffee was what we expected and the WiFi is still free.