Thursday, November 30, 2006
Here we come a waissailing...
The only reference I had previously for wassail was in the above-mentioned song, and even that is pretty obscure. So, thanks to Laura Rebecca's Retro Recipe Challenge #5 - A Boozy Holiday - I conducted some research. Nothing gets me quite as excited as a reason to recreate a booze-laden retro cocktail, plus I have a party this Saturday, so it was good timing.
Wassail is less complicated than it sounds. It's basically very boozy apple cider, spiced with all sorts of yummy holiday-ish things. Served warm this is not too sweet but sweet enough and not too boozy but has a nice kick. This recipe is based on one found on Epicurious from 1973 from the House and Garden Drink Guide.
(serves about 8-10 as prepared)
1 pint fresh apple cider
1 bottle dry sherry
1 bottle Madeira
1 tbs freshly ground nutmeg
1 tbs whole cloves
1-2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbs ground allspice
2 c powdered sugar
1 c brandy
Melt brandy and sugar in a saucepan by boiling it together for 1-2 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients and bring to a simmer.
Add brandy mixture to cider mixture and combine. Bring to a strong simmer.
Serve warm or let cool and reheat before service. My guess based on comments on Epicurious and past drink-making experience is that this gets better with age as the flavors combine. Serve with a cinnamon stick or a thin apple slice soaked in lemon juice as a garnish.