Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wassailing a Holiday Tradition

The Wassail Bowl is usually a Christmas tradition, but I decided to cook one up this year for Thanksgiving. Everyone really enjoyed it so I will probably repeat it for Christmas too. Wassailing has been an old tradition, as far back at the 1400s. It's an ale-base drink seasoned with spices and honey. Traditionally it was served in silver or pewter bowls.

The term wassail comes from an old English word "waes hail" meaning "be well". A Saxon custom at the start of the new year, the lord of the manor would shout "waes hail" and the crowd would answer "drin hail", drink and be healthy.

In future times around the holidays, people would go door to door sharing good wishes and a hot drink.

If you do a search, you'll find a variety of recipes. The one I made was very simple:

Wassail Bowl Recipe

5 parts apple cider
1 part cranberry juice
sliced orange and/or lemon slices
cinnamon sticks
whole cloves to taste (I added about a tsp.)

Heat all to simmer and serve! I heated it in a large crockpot.
Add a little rum if you like to spike it up.

As the holidays approach and you hear that Christmas Carole:

Here we come a-wassailing 
Among the leaves so green; 
Here we come a-wand'ring 
So fair to be seen. 
Love and joy come to you, 
And to you your wassail too; 
And God bless you and send you 
a happy New Year.
Classic Charles II Period Wassail Bowl 1

You'll now know what Wassailing means.
Want to know more history? 

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