Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh go a'wassailing

Over the holidays I made wassail, not once, but twice!  You may remember wassail from the Christmas carol, but you may be confused as to what a wassail or to wassail is.  You are not alone.

The OED lets me know that wassail is a greeting and a wish for good health and also the drink proffered to wish good health and cheer at holiday times.  I love these connections between food and feeling!  Not everyone does, for instance that party pooper Milton: "That men should bee..push't forward to gaming, jigging, wassailing, and mixt dancing is a horror to think."

300 years later in our puritan country, wassail was considered too debauched for children's music: both the Chipmunk and Muppet versions of the song are called "Here we come a'caroling!"

Horrors!  My holiday was filled with games, jigs and wassails, I hope yours was too!

Inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe, I had to improvise when on Christmas I didn't have the magazine and the website did not have the recipe.  All I knew was the recipe called for roasted apple slices, apple brandy, apple cider, and 2 bottles of brown ale.  At another holiday party, I made the wassail again, this time sticking to Martha's recipe, which has a larger beer to cider ratio.  It was also well-received, but on comparison, I like my improvised recipe better.  This wassail was so delicious, warm, not too sweet, but still very apple-y and spicy.

Makes 6 to 8 servings
Takes 30 minutes

1 apple, sliced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 quart apple cider
3 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 bottles Anchor Christmas Ale, room temperature (Martha suggests a brown ale, like Newcastle)
1 cup Apple Brandy (I used Clear Creek once and Laird's Apple Jack once, both are delicious)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place apple slices on a buttered baking tray and drizzle maple syrup over them, tossing to coat.
Roast for 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, simmer cider with spices on medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Lower heat and add ale.  Be careful!  It will foam up.  When it is heated, add the brandy and warm until it is steaming.

Place 2 apple slices in each heatproof glass.  Cover with wassail and love and joy come to you!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that sounds fantastic. I will definitely be making that for a party I'm heading to next weekend. Thanks for the recipe!