Gruß vom Krampus — Card series IV

December 5th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

While Tomorrow night (and a replay of the party on Sunday Night) is our Krampus Nacht cocktail party, tonight is historically the night of Saint Nicholas. We Americans would more closely connect this night with our Christmas eve. Only the Christ-child brings you presents on Christmas day in Germany (or so my feeble research shows). Santa (St. Nicholas) comes on the night of December 5th to fill good children’s shoes with nuts, candies, fruits – perhaps a toy.

He also, as you know now, drags along with him the Krampus for the bad little girls and boys. I hope that the Krampus doesn’t come to bring me any lumps of coal or beat me for lagging behind on the cocktail posts, so below this next card in the series, I’ll hop-to-it.

krampus.hearts

Wer grausam im Leben Herzen bricht,
Nur Böses tat, der wundere sich nicht
wenn solches ihm zuletzt nicht frommt,
und er in Teufels Küche kommt.

Those who cruelly break hearts in life
Through evil deeds should not be surprised
When in the end it becomes no use
and they come to Satan’s Kitchen.

Now – if you drink too many of these below, you might find yourself feeling as if you’re in Satan’s Kitchen.

Krampus Swizzle1
2 oz goslings 151
1 oz Opal Nera
½ oz Herbsaint or absinthe
½ oz pineapple juice
½ oz Falernum
¼-½ oz simple syrup to taste
dash bitters (Fees old fashioned)

Shake all vigourously with cracked ice and pour into a chimney glass. Swizzle with a swizzle stick until the glass frosts. Garnish with a licorice whip.

Gruß vom Krampus!

  1. Switchel, Switch – get it? []

Gruß vom Krampus — Card series III

December 4th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Krampus Iconography1

Krampus is a satyr-figure with specific features. He has a long tongue and pronounced nose and ears. He is covered in fur and has one human leg matched with the cloven hoof goat-satyr leg. He carries (or rides) a black birch switch. He sometimes carries chains or a basket which he wears on his back. He also carries a pitchfork or trident.

The Krampus is also associated with hearts – he judges yours. Sometimes you see him represented with a scale, weighing your heart to see how black it is.

He also seems to be associated with justice for those spurned or forlorn in the matters of love and relationships, hence today’s card. I’m guessing this card would be sent tongue-in-cheek, to a lover during Saint Nicholas Nacht / Krampus Nacht:

779795

Hättest mir nicht mein herz gestohlen
Käme dich nicht der Krampus holen
Gruß vom Krampus!

If I didn’t have my heart stolen (by you)
The Krampus wouldn’t come to get you!
Greetings from the Krampus!

  1. note: all my research so far is conjecture lacking primary sources. If you have a lead on some good Krampus research I would be adore you forever for sharing information []

Gruß vom Krampus series, card II

December 3rd, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Ponder this – other than getting coal for Christmas1, Santa Claus just isn’t that scary. I know we all love to browse through the annual re-posting of the kids disturbed by the Jolly Old Elf, but he just doesn’t instill a palpable sense of dread2.

You’d better watch out, You’d better not cry
You’d better not pout, I’m telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.

That’s really not much of a threat. I think this factor leads to my love for the dual nature of the European old (St.) Nick. The Devil coming to get you with his switch and horns and chains and claws? Yes, that the stuff. That should definitely inspire more nightmares than a lump of old coal.

Consider that nugget in the card below, where we get a close approximation to Coots’s and Gillespie’s lyrics above:

312985

Sei nur brav und niemals keck
Dann der Krampus schaut um’s eck

Be only well-behaved and never saucy,
(for) the Krampus is looking around the corner.

He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. Gruß vom Krampus!

And Yes, I know – another post with no cocktails. Hey, this is the “indigo firmaments” part of the blog and it has been ingored a bit as of late. I do promise that by the end of the week I’ll have a new cocktail for you all: The Krampus Swizzle. 5 points for the first person to get the connection.

  1. who gets coal anymore? anyone still use Christmas to punish misbehaving kids in contemporary culture? []
  2. other than the aspect of reduced gift volume []

Gruß vom Krampus

November 17th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Every December Heather and I throw a Christmas cocktail party centered around the germanic tradition of The Krampus. Krampus is a devil figure who accompanies Saint Nicholas. While old St. Nick gives nuts, fruit and candies for the good little boys and girls, the Krampus doles out punishment for the bad girls and boys: A piece of coal for their black little hearts, a beating with a black birtch switchel, or perhaps he’ll dump you in the river. He might even steal you away and take you back to Hell with him.

The same cultural role of the Krampus can be seen in other Christmas-time heavy homologues such as Black Peter, Pelznickel & Knecht Ruprect. Here in the New World, he has diminished and multiplied into Santa’s helper elves. A shame.

There are a wonderful collection of German post cards that feature the Krampus – often warning the sender and recipient from evil and sinful behavior. Gruß vom Krampus (Greetins from the Krampus) reminds everyone that the all-knowing devil sees you when you’re sleeping.

I’ll eventually get to some cocktail recipies centered around the Krampus in the weeks to come but until then I will feature a series of these vintage post cards. Where I can, I will translate.

Here is the first:
KrampusChain18-9-6638

Gruß vom Krampus!

Warst nicht brav,
drum hoppla-hopp,
Kommt das Krampus
im Galopp.

Greetings from the Krampus!

If you were not well behaved
by hopping to it,1
Krampus will come
a-galloping.

This year Krampus Nacht2 is on Saturday 6th December with another night on Sunday 7th December for Service Industry friends who are busy pouring Saturday Nights.

Gruß vom Krampus!

  1. Hoppla-Hopp is an idom that translates roughly to “on the double, or hop to it!” []
  2. The Fifth(!!) annual []