Though I’ve never actually gone wassailing per say, I have though, made a batch of wassail to fill my home with the scents of the season and share with friends and family. This Farmer’s wassail incorporates the garden and seasonal produce that will pack your home with fragrance for days to come. I actually make two versions of this wassail… the base basically the same for both, but one is much better for ingesting than the other, mainly because of the presence of sugar.
Wassailing is actually an act of celebrating somewhat noisily while drinking a concoction, wassail, of warm beer or wine seasoned with spices and fruit. An English tradition that was brought to the colonies, wassailing and making wassail became a source of delight, warmth, season’s greetings, and entertainment for merry folk; and rightly so! Making and sharing wassail is merry and bright!
A small pot, simple ingredients, and a few minutes – that’s all one needs for wassail making. Stir the pot occasionally as it sits on a low heat, gently simmering and perfuming your home with the aromas of its elements. Said elements – oranges, cinnamon, cloves, tea, rosemary, and juniper – are readily available from the garden and grocery. Citrus is coming in by the truckloads from my neighbor state to the south, and oranges, tangerines, grapefruit and the like have always been a part of our holiday season tableaux.
Make some wassail for you and yours: it is a perfect gift to give your neighbors, friends, hosts and hostess as a party favor from your own holiday bash. Add this batch to this Farmer’s sweet tea and you’ll have your very own delicious Christmas cocktail – Arnold Palmer meets Santa! From this Farmer’s garden, Merry Christmas, and may God bless you and send you a Happy New Year!
The Farmer’s Garden Wassail
4 cups of water
2 small oranges sliced into rounds
2 bags of Earl Grey Tea
2 tablespoons of whole cloves
2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
3 small cinnamon sticks
2 stems of rosemary
1 cluster of juniper berries
Combine all ingredients into a small to medium sized pot and simmer on low heat, stirring as you pass by the stove! Enjoy for a few days and serve hot with the Farmer’s Sweet Tea.
James T. Farmer III was born and raised in Georgia, where he continues to live and work as a landscape designer. He shares his love of food, flowers and photography on his blog All Things Farmer.