We had a Christmas party at church yesterday, and I learned about a cider punch which is popular for the Christmas Season and/or to celebrate the Winter Solstice. It was traditionally prepared as a drink to give to carolers or outdoor activities during the winter season. It has a very warming effect on the body because of the included spices. When I drank it, I could feel my whole body getting warm all the way to my toes.
Here is one recipe:4 cups hot black tea
4 cups cranberry juice
4 cups apple juice
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 inches fresh ginger root, chopped
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
Put all in a large pot and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Stir. Lower heat and let simmer or put in a crock pot on low.
There are many variations to the drink, some of them including alcohol such as brandy, rum or whiskey.
History of WassailIn the old days, wassail was customary to be served at Christmas time. The tradition going back to England where groups get together to wish each other “good health.” It is still popular for parties to add warmth, spice and fruitiness.
The original addition of spices was introduced when sailors returned from India to England and called it “punch,” which comes from the Sanskrit ‘panc,’ which means "five." The drink originally was made of five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices.
If you have plans for a party or just want to share something different to toast the New Year, try wassail.
Here are some more recipes:Slow Cooker Cider Wassail