Tomorrow evening we are celebrating the graduate school milestones of two of my colleagues and friends, one who has passed her prelims and one who will have defended her prospectus. I'm really excited for them, and being excited for them helps me to look forward to these milestones for myself next year rather than dreading them. I'm doubly excited for tomorrow, though, because I am making wassail for the party, and this can be filed under Kate's Inordinate Love of Obscure Traditions.
If you google recipes for wassail, you'll be rewarded a teeming multitude of recipes made up of a never-ending variety of ingredients. The one thing all these recipes have in common, though, is their size. Wassail is not a small-batch preparation. My recipe calls for a bottle of red wine, a bottle of tawny port, and 3 bottles of ale plus the spices and the half dozen eggs. (Alton Brown's recipe is similar.)
Wassail is the drink of celebration and ceremony. It invites a good apple harvest for the next year, it warms carolers out singing, and it celebrates community.
Be well, Be healthy,