Sip the Holidays: Uncovering the History of Wassail and How to Make It
As someone who appreciates the warmth of tasty holiday beverages, the history of hot wassail is interesting to me. This holiday drink dates back to medieval England, where it was more than just a beverage; it was a gesture of good health and prosperity.
According to an article from Untappd, the word "wassail" comes from the Old Norse phrase "ves heill" and later the Middle English greeting "waes hael". Both mean "be in good health." It was a customary toast during Yuletide celebrations.
SIP THE HOLIDAYS: UNCOVERING THE HISTORY OF WASSAIL AND HOW TO MAKE IT
Originally, wassail was a unique concoction of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and sugar. It was served in large communal bowls that symbolized unity and celebration.
Over time, as apples and orchards rapidly increased in England, the recipe evolved. By the 19th century, wassail had become a warm, spiced cider made with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, with pieces of toast and roasted apples floating on top.
Making hot wassail today is an easy and enjoyable task, perfect for bringing a touch of historical charm to modern winter gatherings. Here's a simple recipe to create your own.
Simple Hot Wassail Recipe
4 cups of apple cider
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of lemon juice
4 cinnamon sticks
A few whole cloves
1/4 cup of sugar (optional, depending on your sweetness preference)
1 apple, sliced
1 orange, sliced
In a large pot, combine the apple cider, orange juice, and lemon juice.
Add the cinnamon sticks and a few whole cloves.
Gently warm the mixture over low heat for about 10 minutes. Avoid boiling.
Taste and add sugar if desired, stirring until it dissolves.
Add the sliced apple and orange.
Keep the pot on low heat and serve warm, ladling the wassail into mugs.
Hot wassail is more than just a drink. It connects us to traditions of hospitality and goodwill. Whether you're hosting a holiday party or simply settling in for a cozy night, a mug of wassail will surely warm things right up.
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