Wassail at Thatchers Cider
Image: Neil Phillips
Drink prepared to celebrate the winter festival, commonly based on cider or ale with brandy and spices, served hot. The word 'wes-hale' was originally a drinking-toast or salutation used when presenting a cup to a companion, the reply being 'drink-hale'. It may be remnant of the festival of Yule, which has now been subsumed into Christmas. There remains a significant tradition of making large, usually turned wood, bowls for drinking the Wassail from.
Wassail! wassail! all over the town,
There is also a certain tradition of placing cider-soaked bread or toast among the trees...
Offering toast soaked in cider at Saddlescombe Farm, West Sussex after a Wassail.
Image: Laurence Perry / National Trust
Although a 'wassail bowl' is generally the celebratory drink, or the bowl it is drunk from, there is also a considerable tradition of making a Wassail Custard dessert treat.
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