So you can have some "fine jazz" in your "tub," that will make you too "sing like a bird." "Do you know that this recipe is hundreds of years old?" Like Bingo, we too "toast the long line of tipplers that have perpetuated such a noble tradition."
From Charles Baker’s The Gentleman’s Companion: An Exotic Drinking Book, from 1939: a collectible tome, of which we possess a valuable early addition.
As with so many old books, use the recipe as a guide and adjust and improvise to taste.
THE ANCIENT WASSAIL BOWL
from an Ancient Elizabethan Formula, Circa 1602, & Truly Notable for Its Exceeding Mildness
In Saxon times this custom of the Wassail Bowl at feast days was an important ceremony, and later it became an accepted custom at Christmas Eve, when minstrels or choirs, or village singers went about singing carols where there was a candle lit in the window.
In the Feudal castles, and manor houses, the Wassail Bowl was borne into the banqueting Hall with songs and carols, and crowned with garlands.
- Nutmeg, 1/2 grated; or 2 tsp powdered
- Powdered or grated ginger, 1 tsp
- Cloves, 6 whole
- Cinnamon, 1 inch of stick
- Sugar, 1 cup
- Eggs, yolks 6; whites 3
- Apples, 6 cored, but not pared
- Mace, 1/4 tsp
- Sherry or Madeira, 2 qts
Take spices and cover with a cup of cold water. Fetch to a boil; adding wine and sugar. Let heat up . . . Meanwhile in the Wassail Bowl (Punchbowl) previously warmed:
Break in six yolks and three whites. Beat up. When wine is warm–not boiling–mix a teacupful with the egg. When a little warmer, add another cupful, and repeat until five cups have been used . . . Now let the rest of the wine boil up well, and pour it into the bowl also, stirring well all the time, until it froths in attractive fashion . . . Fill cored apples with sugar, sprinkle on a little of the spice and roast until nearly done. Time these to suit the end of the wine-pouring process. Throw them into the bowl, and serve the whole thing very hot . . . Some stout hearts add a tumbler full of good cognac brandy to the whole–and we, after testing the business, heartily agree with them; since sherry of itself isn’t potent enough to make any Saxon defend his native land, much less a 20th Century wassailer, with all we have been through during the one and a half decades that Saxons never even considered as drinkable fluid!