Monday, September 22, 2008

Here We Come: Wassail Bowl

Yesterday's comments on mulled wine and a-seasonal food segues nicely into this not-quite-seasonal recipe from Favourite Kentish Recipes:
Wassail Bowl

1 quart ale
1/2 bottle sherry
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 slices toast
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
2 medium sized baked apples, chopped
Sugar to taste
1 orange

Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Heat the mixture but do not let it boil. Allow to stand for 1 hour. Strain and re-heat. Serve either in a large bowl with slices of orange floating on the surface or in individual mugs or tumblers each with a slice of orange. If using glass tumblers make sure that the mixture is not too hot.

This Old English punch is an ideal and warming drink after Carol Singing.
Chefly Husband, looking over my shoulder, asks, "Why is there toast in it?" Well, it's wicked traditional, and if memory serves, the literal toast in the drink is what gave rise to the verbing (verbification?) of "toast."

I've never had a proper old fashioned wassail, it seems. I make a mean mulled cider, and a mean mulled wine, and, great golly, stand back when I combine the two, but a wassail? I need to try this. There's nothing in it I don't love, after all!

If you don't have two baked apples to spare, just take two unbaked apples, chop them up, and microwave for 5 minutes. Instant "baked" apples. (For just one apple, 3 minutes will do.) long must I wait to try this, to avoid seeming unseemly?


  1. I'm pretty sure the toast is in there for the same reason that we have tapas: it's a giant bowl filled with sweet, yummy goodness, probably in a drafty old castle where there is middle-ages-quality sanitation and therefore probably a METRIC SHIT-TON of FLIES. The toast is there to keep them out of the drink.

    (And that's what I was told about tapas as well...they were served on small pieces of bread which you could set over your wine glass to keep out the flies.)

  2. ALSO, "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"

    How about right now? :)

  3. I've heard the lyrics as "Our ale it is white and our toast it is brown," but regardless, it is indeed "wicked traditional."

    As to when you can get away with making this, my vote is for anytime the temps dip below 65 overnight.

    Hmm...I make a mean mulled cider wine myself, heavy on the honey. And I've got a couple of batches of mead working away. I wonder how mulled mead would taste...

  4. Mel, we actually sang that at Pink Sunday this year!