OK, so I've always wanted to see what the big deal was about Wassail. As most of you know, I'm a history major and lover, so to see 16th - 18th century England obsessed with Wassail, I'm curious as to what it tastes like. Why is this drink in so many songs? Why did the English have such a connection to it?
Yes, I've had the modern American stuff we call wassail, but it's really just a mulled cidar. I've always harbored some doubts that the stuff in church lady's crock pot was the stuff of song and dance! From what I've read Wassail is more of a "hearty" drink. The name itself means "Good Health."
Finally, I've found it: A professional chef's research into a 16th century Lambswool Wassail: It looks stout, hearty, and...interesting! I'm pretty sure it's more ancient than I thought. It's a basically a spiced beer; however, I'm confident it has a pagan religous origin. Apples and eggs were very important to the British Isles' pagan religions, and Wassail has always been related to Christmas...or Winter Solstice, an important holiday for most pre-Christian religions.
Overall, it's been a fun little research project, and now I'm trying to decide if I take the next step! Should I make it...and more importantly, should I serve it! Lol!
See what you think...would you drink it if I make it!?!
Wassail by Alton Brown
6 small Fuji apples, cored
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
72 ounces ale
750 ml Madeira
10 whole cloves
10 whole allspice berries
1 cinnamon stick, 2-inches long
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 large eggs, separated
Don't try this without looking up the Foodnetwork show on how to do it (Part 1, Part 2)! Apparently, it takes a few special twists to get it to come out right.
Seriously, I'd love to hear your thoughts!