Punch-ing for a good cause

by John Morris

Advent is in full swing in Vienna and as the snow settles on the city’s
streets it is worth targeting the charity Punch Stands to do a good deed
as well as have a good time.

Many are to be found at the Advent markets, full of Christmas Kitsch,
where the markets’ punch stands become a festive meeting point for
locals and visitors, who gather over some warming and traditional

On many street corners charitable organizations such as the Lions have
their own stands. The Lions are a 1.35 million strong World Wide
volunteer force of altruists wishing to enrich their own communities.

In the 4 weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas, Lions’ volunteers man
the kiosks, serving both the Viennese and tourists with an array of hot
drinks. Most of them are alcoholic, but a tasty non-alcoholic
“Kinderpunsch” or children’s punch is also available.

For those with strong constitutions, there is the “Turbo Punch” which is
boosted with a shot of Schnaps and will melt any icy feet in a second.
Berry filled punch provides a filling treat,  and for those wanting to
avoid excessive sugary sweetness, many stands also offer “Glühwein”, the
Austrian equivalent of mulled wine.

In addition to this there are tempting arrays of Chistmas cookies and
savoury open sandwiches, which get people ready for over indulgence in
the Christmas feasts which will take place in Austrian homes during the
coming weeks.

The Lions stand at the Opera boasts probably the finest punch in Vienna,
with their stall on the Graben offering the best location. However if
it’s atmosphere that you’re after, head to Schottengasse on Friday 17t
December, where the Lions Vindobona promise an evening that will rock
the public in true Christmas spirit. The evening will mix Anglo-Austrian
flair with popular Christmas songs and appearances from guest artists
Saxo Lady, Michael Pobisch and DJ Kötzi will keep the audience buzzing.
The special Vindobona Stand opens at 1pm and continues to 8 pm. All
proceeds will go to support sight impaired children in Austria.