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Wassail Recipe
from The Williamsburg Cookbook

As traditional and familiar as most any English Christmas carol, the song is among the season's more anachronistic, an evocation of a holiday custom that pretty much puzzles modern celebrants: wassailing.

(20 servings)

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
3 lemon slices
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
6 cups dry red wine
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup dry sherry
2 lemons, sliced

Wassailing is an ancient English custom, part of the feasts and revelry of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, which have been revived in Colonial Williamsburg. The master of the English household drank to the health of those present with a bowl of spiced ale, and each in turn after him passed the bowl along and repeated the Saxon phrase “Wass hael,” which means “be whole” or “be well.”

Directions:
Boil the sugar, cinnamon sticks, and 3 lemon slices in ½ cup of water for 5 minutes and strain. Discard the cinnamon sticks and lemon slices.

Heat but do not boil the remaining ingredients. Combine with the syrup, garnish with the lemon slices, and serve hot.


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