Evolution of Wassail

In ancient times there became a tradition of blessing the orchards.  This would take place around the first of the new year.  Farmers would gather in their orchards and give thanks for their harvest.  They would drink a toast and bless the trees by drinking and pouring a warmed concoction of hard apple cider and other herbs, spices and spirits on to the roots of the trees.

Perhaps this was really just an excuse to get out of the house in the dead of winter and drink with their buddies.  In any event, this tradition became known as “Wassailing”.

Over centuries, the tradition of “Wassailing” came to be associated with Christmas and as such, “Wassail” became the drink served in homes and taverns in celebration of the season.

As a beverage that was served hot, it became quite popular in taverns who served it to travelers upon arriving after a long cold journey .

Recipes for Wassail are as varied as one’s imagination.

The Carroll’s Mead Wassail recipe is, like Carroll’s Mead itself, lighter in style, which some find more desirable for festive occasions.

Carroll's Mead Wassail Recipe
1 bottle
Carroll’s Mead
2 cups Fresh Apple Cider
1 Large Orange
4 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Whole Cloves
1 small slice ginger root
Pinch of nutmeg

*Cut the Orange in half.  Poke the Cloves into the rind of one half. 
Squeeze the juice from the other half into the pot.
*Add the Apple Cider and Carroll’s Mead.
*Add the Cinnamon Sticks, Nutmeg and half orange with cloves to the pot.
*Slice the ginger root length wise into 4 pieces. Add one piece to the pot.
*Bring to boil then reduce heat to low. Allow to steep for one hour.
*Serve piping hot.  Yields 8 to 10 servings.

Note: by mixing the Carroll’s Mead at the beginning most of the alcohol will cook off.  If you wish to keep some alcohol in the Wassail, steep the ingredients without the
Carroll’s Mead and pour the Carroll’s Mead before you serve.  Allow about 10 minutes to warm with the other ingredients.

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