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Wassail

Wassail was originally a word that meant to greet or salute someone -- groups would go out wassailing on cold evenings, and when they approached a door would be offered a mug of warm cider or ale. Over the years, the tradition evolved to include mixing eggs with alcohol and asperging the crops to ensure fertility. While this recipe doesn't include eggs, it sure is good, and it makes your house smell beautiful for Yule!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Gallon apple cider
  • 2 C. cranberry juice
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 oranges
  • Whole cloves
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • Allspice
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (or 3 Tbs. ground cinnamon)
  • 1/2 C - 1 C brandy (optional)

Preparation:

Set your crockpot to its lower setting, and pour apple cider, cranberry juice, honey and sugar in, mixing carefully. As it heats up, stir so that the honey and sugar dissolve. Stud the oranges with the cloves, and place in the pot (they'll float). Add the diced apple. Add allspice, ginger and nutmeg to taste -- usually a couple of tablespoons of each is plenty. Finally, snap the cinnamon sticks in half and add those as well.

Cover your pot and allow to simmer 2 - 4 hours on low heat. About half an hour prior to serving, add the brandy if you choose to use it.

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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.