And the Germans wonder why the hell they get a reputation as a nation of raving alcoholics. Out of the lovely (really...I mean it this time) southeastern corner of Westphalia, near the city of Dortmund, commonly called the Sauerland, comes this yummy traditional recipe for beer soup.

1/2 litre milk
1/2 litre beer - Kölsch is good for this, as are most pilsners.
1 stick cinnamon
60g sugar
1 egg

Heat the milk together with the cinnamon and most of the sugar until it just begins to boil, then bind with a bit of starch (pre-mixed with a bit of water, so that it dissolves evenly). Mix the eggyolk with the rest of the sugar and combine with the beer, then stir the beer slowly into the milk - it should be warm, but not boiling, otherwise you begin to cook away the alcohol. Take out the cinnamon and serve immediately.

As most traditional recipes, there are countless variants. Some people make this only with beer and water, heated and thickened with white bread. You can also add dumplings, a little lemon peel, or anis or ginger. The most important part is choosing the right beer. Stouts, ales, and most lagers are straight out of the question. Wheat beer gives it a lightly sweet flavour, but a neutral pilsner - not too hoppy, not too strong - should be just about right.

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