'Tis the season for gathering with friends, singing carols, and drinking hot cider. Historically, Wassail refers both to the Old English greeting 'Waes Hail' 'be you healthy', and to the drink of wassail, a hot mulled cider (made with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and topped with slices of toast). It was traditionally drunk as part of "wassailing" - a ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year. These days it refers more to the drink rather than the greeting.
My version of "wassail" does not contain mulled spices, or apple cider, or any kind of alcohol. It is just a good hot drink, great for winter parties. This was the recipe we used at my wedding reception. No muss, no fuss. Tastes soooo good. It's also 116 calories per cup, with about 30g of sugar, but hey. Less calories than a can of soda. Ü I'll be making a batch for our family party this weekend, and we'll probably have leftovers for our anniversary next week.
Bring to a boil:
3 c. sugar
4 c. water
1 12-oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
3/4 c. lemon juice
4 quarts water
Return to a boil, then add:
1 t. almond extract
♫♪ ...Love and joy come to you,
and to you, your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year!...♫