Skip to main content

Drinks to Warm You Up: Wassail and the Tradition of Toasting #OurFamilyTable

Today, Ellen of Family Around the Table and Christie of A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures invited us to join them in sharing drinks to warm you up. They wrote: "Winter is in full swing and it's time to warm up with a beverage. Think hot chocolate, hot toddy, warm cider, cappuccino and more for this event." It sounded perfect after a couple of chilly weeks in Denmark for the holidays!


Drinks to Warm You Up

Tradition of Toasting
When I began researching wassail, because I had read about it in different British literature for years, I found it actually started as a toast or a greeting. Waes hael! people would say while lifting up a mug of spiced cider. And there was traditionally a piece of toasted bread that floated on top of the cider. Hence the sayings: "I'll toast to that!" or "Let's have a toast!"

But, probably, my favorite of the wassail traditions that I found was the ritual of offering the spiced cider to the trees.  In the winter, wassailers would prepare traditional wassail, soaking pieces of toast in it, and travel from apple orchard to orchard in effort to ensure a good harvest for the coming year.  They might even hang wassail-soaked pieces of toast in the branches or bury them at the roots to keep the tree spirits well-fed until the next year.

Wassail  
            
I probably could have looked for a British hard cider, but I opted for a local-to-me brand: Tanuki, out of Santa Cruz.

Ingredients

  • 4 small apples (I used a locally grown variety called Strawberry Parfait, they are only about 2" diameter)
  • ¼ C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 organic medium orange (I used a blood orange)
  • 13 whole cloves
  • 8 C hard apple cider
  • ½ C brandy
  • 1 T powdered ginger
  • 1 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • toast, optional (I used leftover brioche)


Procedure
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Scoop out the core of the apples, leaving the bottom intact if you can. Fill each apple with 1 T of sugar and place them on a parchment or silicon mat-lined baking sheet. Pierce the orange with the cloves and place it on the same baking sheet. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

In the meantime, wrap the allspice and cinnamon in a piece of cheesecloth and set aside. Pour the apple cider and brandy into a heavy-bottomed stock pot and warm over low heat. Whisk in the ginger and grated nutmeg and float the packet of spices in the wassail as it warms. Take care not to let the wassail boil. 

In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until lightened in color. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold yolks into whites, then temper the eggs by slowly pouring a ladle-full of warm wassail into the eggs.

Remove the spice sachet from the wassail and pour in the tempered eggs. Transfer to a punch bowl. Float baked apples and the orange in the wassail and serve by the mug. If you wish, top each mugful with a small slice of toast. Waes hael!

Comments

  1. I love the history lesson with the tradition of toasting. Wassail sounds delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an interesting article. Thanks for researching and for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This sounds like such a warm and comforting drink, and I love the hostory information to go alone with it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing the history and lore. I never tried wassail I need to change that. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Lamskoteletten op zijn oud-Hollands for #TheBookClubCookbookCC

Here we are at April's #thebookclubcookbookCC event. It's hard to believe that we only have three more months in this year-long journey to explore - and cook from -  The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors  by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp.* Judy, Vicki, and their publisher,  Tarcher-Penguin ,  have provided the hosting bloggers with copies of the book plus copies to giveaway each month of the project. Woohoo. Incredibly generous. This month Sarah at  Things I Make (for Dinner)  has selected  Girl With a Pearl Earring  by Tracy Chevalier.** Click to read  Sarah's invitation . She shared the recipe for Griet's Vegetable Soup, but invited us to find inspiration in any of the pages. On the Page... While the boys were playing around the lake during our week in Tahoe earlier in the month, I stayed by the fire and finished this book in one sitting. Loved it. photo by R

Pistachio Dukkah for #HandCraftedEdibles

In an effort to make all of my holiday gifts this year, we are sharing recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes that you can make at home to give to friends and loved ones, or things to serve at holiday parties. We hope you'll follow along for inspiration. You can find out more information, including the schedule:  here . This week, we are "going nuts" and sharing all sorts of recipes with nuts. Think spiced nuts or nutty fruit cake or whatever floats your nutty boat! Here's what we're posting this week... Amy's Cooking Adventures  shared her Salted Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookaholic Wife  cooked up Slow Cooker Cinnamon Almonds Making Miracles  made Honey Roasted Almonds Christmas Tree Lane  posted Crockpot Spiced Nuts A Day in the Life on the Farm  wrote about the Easiest Nut Brittle in the World Sew You Think You Can Cook  prepared Orange Rosemary Roasted Almonds Culinary Adventur