Wassail was traditionally a hot drink made of ale, sherry, sugar, and spices, with pieces of toast and roasted apples floating in it. It is the legendary drink served on the Feast of the Three Kings with an oversized, decorated sweet yeast bread. The word wassail is derived from the Anglo-Saxon toast waes haeil, or “be whole.” On Christmas or Twelfth Night, revelers would carry a large bowl from door to door, asking for it to be filled, a custom known as wassailing. There are now many versions of wassail, and the palate for hot strong beer is limited, so it has evolved into a spiked juice toddy. The antique French Api apple was probably the apple of choice of the day. It is now called a Lady apple; look for it at Christmas, but any apple will do.
This recipe was featured as part of our Hot Boozy Drinks photo gallery.