It’s unlikely you’ll find old-style apple wine (known as Frankfurt Ebbelwei) on a beverage list outside of Frankfurt, Germany. In the Rhine-Main region, vintners have been producing apple wine from local apples for over 250 years. Some owners of traditional restaurants in Sachsenhausen continue to make their own apple wine to this day.

Frankfurt is well known for its "green sauce" dish.

Frankfurt is well known for its “green sauce” dish.

At Frankfurt’s many taverns and apple wine pubs, gourmets like to enjoy their apple wine together with typical local fare, such as frankfurters, loin ribs with sauerkraut and Goethe’s favorite: the popular and also only-available-in-Frankfurt “green sauce” (made from seven herbs and yogurt accompanied by boiled eggs and boiled potatoes).

With an alcohol content of 4 to 6 percent, apple wine has a tart, sour taste. Traditionally, it is not bubbly. Visitors drink it from a “gerippte,” a special .3 liter ribbed glass. It’s sometimes served in a .25 liter or .5 liter glass, which is frowned upon by the locals.

How did apple wine become so popular?

 

Foodie Traveling Mom Megy Karydes enjoying a first sip of Frankfurt's apple wine

Foodie TravelingMom Megy Karydes enjoying a first sip of Frankfurt’s apple wine.

Apple Wine’s History
During the Middle Ages, beer and wine were the beverages of choice in the Rhine-Main area. Then, in the middle of the 16th century, the area went through a bit of a climatic change, which negatively influenced wine production from hereon in. As a result, many vineyards were transformed into fruit orchards. During the Goethe era, more and more wine taverns made the transition to apple wine pub.

Today, Old Sachsenhausen, with its apple wine pubs, the historic half-timbered houses and narrow alleys, stands for Frankfurt hospitality.

Our first taste of Frankfurt's street food: currywurst

Our first taste of Frankfurt’s street food: currywurst.

 

 

Apple Wine Jargon

  • Ebbelwei, Ebbelwoi, Äppler, Schoppe, Stöffche – Apple wine
  • Bembel – Blue-grey stoneware jug from which apple wine is served
  • Gerippte – Ribbed glass from which apple wine is drank
  • Grüne Soße (green sauce) – A delicious sauce made from seven herbs, served cold
  • Schoppepetzer – A person who enjoys apple wine

Street food isn’t as prevalent in Frankfurt as in other European cities but if you’re looking for authentic German fast food fare on the streets of Frankfurt, look for the stands or food trucks with currywurst.

Currywurst consists of steamed, then fried pork sausage (the German word is wurst) cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup (ketchup or tomato paste blended with generous amounts of curry powder).

You can also find currywurst available as take-out, diners and on children’s menus in restaurants. It’s also usually served with French fries or bread rolls (Brötchen).

No sojourn in Frankfurt is complete without a quick visit for a glass of the renowned Frankfurt Ebbelwei with green sauce and a currywurst to go!