Particularly popular in Germanic countries, wassail is a hearty holiday beverage, a contraction of the Anglo-Saxon term meaning “be healthy.” Its long steeping time envelops your home in the cozy scent of cinnamon and cloves. Adding a liquor like brandy, to taste, will put some spirits in your holiday spirit. Serves 6–8.
3 or 4 cinnamon sticks
Zest from half a lemon
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup port
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large saucepan, pour in two pints of ale. Add the cinnamon sticks, lemon zest and cloves and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Score apples around their circumferences with a knife. Place in a baking dish. Cover with 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup of ale and all of the port. Cover baking dish and place in oven, cooking for 30 minutes.
While apples are baking, place remaining sugar and spices into the saucepan, ensuring it’s well mixed.
When apples are done baking, place entire contents of baking dish into saucepan. Allow to cook over a low heat for another 30–40 minutes.
Serve hot in mugs.
**This article was excerpted from this longer Solstice Article by Kristy Lund: http://life.gaiam.com/article/how-have-solstice-celebration