Thursday, November 18, 2010

Here We Come A-Wassailing

A Christmas wreath in Colonial Williamsburg
Everyone should know this old Christmas song;

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand'ring
So fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you
a happy New Year.

Colonial Williamsburg wrote an article explaining the history behind the curious word, Wassailing. 
 The meaning has changed over time.  It's original use was used as a greeting and evolved into a form of toasting during ritualized drinking. The word wassail came from the Old Norse phrase, ves heil and the Old English phrase was hál which meant, “be in good health” or “be fortunate.”
 Today we associate wassail or wassailing with Christmas. I personally associate it with the movie Little Women because the girls sing it while walking outside in the snow.  I love it. I also think of Colonial Williamsburg when I think of the word or song.  I adore Colonial Williamsburg.

I was looking through my old Southern Living Christmas books from the 80's.  They are filled with classic craft ideas, gift ideas and old recipes.  So fun.  Surprisingly I came across a recipe for Old Fashioned Wassail. It's like a nonalcoholic hot punch. It looks delicious. I plan on making this for Christmas.

Christmas with Southern Living 1986. I own a copy that belonged to my mom but I have seen them sold on ebay.

Old Fashioned Wassail

1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 (3 inch) stick cinnamon
2 quarts apple cider or apple juice
1 quart real no sugar added cranberry juice
1 (46 oz) can pineapple juice
1 (12 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted
1 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and undiluted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar

Tie cloves and cinnamon in a cheesecloth bag. Place spice bag and remaining ingredients into a large soup pot; stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove the spice bag. Yields 1 1/2 gallons.

An inn in Colonial Williamsburg


  1. i grew up eating all those, living about 30 min from colonial williamsburg, and reading southern living! might have to remember how to make all those recipes....

  2. Oh Fun! We are heading to Va to visit family for Christmas and I plan on eating at one of the Colonial Taverns! yay!