Wassail — the libation of celebration — has a storied history
To those of you not from the early Victorian era, this may seem a strange phrase, but allowme to allay your fears: no princes of the church were harmed in Dickens’ everlasting tale of redemption, for even Anglicans frown on setting their clerics ablaze.
No, what Scrooge was referring to was that ubiquitous English Christmas drink: Wassail.
We’ve all heard of it fromthe Christmas carol. References abound in popular culture. The characters even go a-wassailing in an episode of “Family Guy.” But what exactly is it?
Well, it’s hard to find the one true recipe for wassail. It’s so old that even the ancients probably couldn’t decide on what to put in it, with each chief believing his version was the best. But the consensus is that it’s a hot mulled cider or mead and has to include cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and an apple or orange thrown in for good measure.
So how old is it?