“Wassail” was originally a toast to one’s good health, and over
time came to represent the drink itself. There are as many versions
of this ancient beverage as their are sources, but they all contain
a spirit, beer, or wine, and spices. Here is a simple yet satisfying
version based on red wine.
Red Wine Wassail
2 cups (500 ml) water
1 cup (250 ml) honey
4 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 750-ml bottle red wine
Boil the water, honey, cloves, and cinnamon for five minutes. Remove
from the heat, add the lemons, and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Add the wine and heat slowly until just below the boiling point. Serve
hot. Serves 6.