Wassail, from Middle English wæs hæl, means ‘good health’. So, here’s a hearty festive drink to welcome in the season.
If you don’t have a punchbowl and ladle, improvise with the largest vessel you can find and, if it’s less than elegant, simply wrap it in a white linen cloth or pretty tablecloth, decorate it with ivy and ribbons and serve the ale with a small jug. This is a dry drink that works well with Guinness or stout as well as ale.
Handful of sultanas
150ml marsala, sherry, brandy or rum
100ml ginger cordial or 125g caster sugar
Pinch of grated nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon
2 litres ale, porter, stout or other dark ale
Punchbowl and cups or glasses
1 Put the sultanas in the punchbowl, add the measured marsala (or alternative), plus the cordial or sugar, and the spices. Leave to macerate.
2 When your guests arrive, add ice (if preferred) and the ale. Stir and serve in the cups.
Recipes and images taken from Artisan Drinks by Lindy Wildsmith, photography by Kevin Summers (Jacqui Small, £25)