Here We Come A-wassailing (or Here We Come A-caroling) is an English traditional Christmas carol and New Years song apparently composed c. 1850. The old English wassail song refers to ‘wassailing’, or singing carols door to door wishing good health, while the a- is an archaic intensifying prefix; compare A-Hunting We Will Go and lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas (e.g., “Six geese a-laying”).
According to Readers Digest; “the Christmas spirit often made the rich a little more generous than usual, and bands of beggars and orphans used to dance their way through the snowy streets of England, offering to sing good cheer and to tell good fortune if the householder would give them a drink from his wassail bowl or a penny or a pork pie or, let them stand for a few minutes beside the warmth of his hearth. The wassail bowl itself was a hearty combination of hot ale or beer, apples, spices and mead, just alcoholic enough to warm tingling toes and fingers of the singers”. So in the spirit of the season we wanted to share with you this wassail recipe and wish you a merry wassailing!
1/2 Cup Sugar 4 allspice berries
2 cups water 1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves 1/2 piece ginger root, approximately 2 inches
2 cups orange juice (I like the big gallon of Kirtland brand you get at Costco)
1 cup lemon juice 1 quart apple cider or juice
Combine sugar and water. Boil 2 minutes, them remove from heat and add spices. Cover and allow to stand in warm place for 1 hour. Strain, add juices and cider. Bring quickly to a boil. Remove from heat and serve at once. Makes about 8 cups.