Recipe for a Perfect WASSAIL
As I write, we are putting all the final touches in place for our 2019 production of A Christmas Carol. This is my 11th year with the production and my 8th year writing for The Hanover Theatre Christmas Carol Blog! In the beginning, before Instastories and the rise of social media platforms, multiple cast members contributed to the blog. I recently looked back at some of our older entries and came across a series of recipes that made me smile. Here is an entry from Micah Greene, who played the lovely Belle in our 2011 production:
“Wassail! December 20, 2011”
So what does an actor in The Hanover Theatre’s A Christmas Carol do on an evening off? Why, make a big batch of Wassail of course! What?! You don’t know what Wassail is? Well, in the life of a Christmas Carol actor it is two things (well, maybe two and a half ). One: An AMAZING arrangement of a traditional Christmas carol by Ralph Vaughn Williams that we sing together during the Fezziwig Party scene (the scene with the Doodlebobs!!! Look it up in our blog!) when Ebenezer Scrooge visits himself as a young man. The merriment of the Fezziwig party completely embodies a joyous tradition. Two (and a half): Wassailing is a tradition of caroling around the holidays to bless the upcoming crop of apples. It means literally “good health” and became associated with a warmed, mulled cider offered to wassailers for their song. I decided that tonight would be the perfect night to make this traditional drink for the holidays. So I scoured the interwebs and found the following lovely recipe and made it for a holiday party I am attending tomorrow night. Enjoy! (Please note: The beverage does contain alcohol, I did find a non-alcoholic version here).
- 8-10 small apples
- 1 large peeled orange stuck with whole cloves
- 8 to 10 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 bottles dry red wine
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 cloves
- Small handful of blueberries
- 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 teaspoon of allspice
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 gallon of apple cider
- 1 splash whiskey
First, core each apple and fill with a teaspoon of brown sugar. Place into a baking pan and fill the pan 1/8 of an inch full of water.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, peel the orange. Next stick the orange with cloves, about a half an inch apart. It should look similar to this:
Then place alongside the apples and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove the orange and the apples and puncture the orange in several places with a fork. Next, in a large saucepan or pot, combine the red wine, cider, ginger, cloves, allspice, blueberries, cinnamon, sugar and the water from the baked orange and apples. Slowly, bring the mixture to a simmer, cover and let sit on low heat for 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil.
Add a splash of whiskey, to taste. Pour into a large punch bowl, steaming hot and float the apples and oranges. Serve with a stick of cinnamon. Preferably in a “green maple” bowl. Makes enough for about 15 jolly wassailers!