Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Wassail Bowl

In the cider-producing counties in the South West of England or South East England wassailing refers to a traditional ceremony that involves singing and drinking the health of trees in the hopes that they might better thrive. The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away any evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. Wassail is a hot mulled beverage often associated with Yuletide. A historical wassail consisted of mulled beer or mead, sugar, ale, ginger, and cinnamon. They would be placed in a bowl and heated, and topped with slices of toast as sops. Hence the stanza of the traditional carol the Gloucestershire Wassail dating back to the Middle Ages...
"Wassail! Wassail! All over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee."

so here is my recipe that I have had for over 30 years!

8 cups apple cider
1 cup brown sugar
1 6oz lemonade concentrate
1 6oz orange juice concentrate
in cheesecloth put 6 whole cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, 1 teasp orange peel
mix together liquids and heat. put in cheesecloth with spices. Let simmer.
I even make this late Christmas Eve and let sit overnight. Then heat up on
Christmas morning!

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