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Dec 19

Publication of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

Wassail
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Christmas Punch
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"Wassail, wassail, all over the town
Our bread it is white and our ale it is brown
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee."

~ Traditional

Today marks the publication of "A Christmas Carol, " Charles Dickens' yuletide tale of hope and redemption, originally published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843. A favorite celebratory beverage of Dickens himself, which appears everywhere in his novels whenever a drop of good cheer is called for, is punch, most famously mentioned at the Cratchit's Christmas dinner in "A Christmas Carol." In its noun form, wassail is a beverage of spiced ale or mulled wine drunk during celebrations during the holiday season, and particularly for Twelfth Night and Christmas Eve.

"Wassail! wassail! all over the town,

Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;

Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;

With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink unto thee."

 

Today, December 19th, marks the publication of "A Christmas Carol, " Charles Dickens' yuletide tale of hope and redemption, originally published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843.

 

A favorite celebratory beverage of Dickens himself, which appears everywhere in his novels whenever a drop of good cheer is called for, is punch, most famously mentioned at the Cratchit's Christmas dinner in "A Christmas Carol."

 

Wassail is a spiced ale or mulled wine punch often associated with Yuletide and drunk from a 'wassailing bowl' on Christmas or Twelfth Night celebrations.   The earliest versions were warmed mead – ale brewed with honey – into which roasted crab apples were dropped and burst to create a drink called 'lambswool'.

The drink later evolved into a mulled cider made with sugar, cinnamonginger and nutmeg, topped with slices of toast as sops and drunk from a large communal bowl.  Wassail bowls with highly decorated lids were made from wood, pottery or tin and often had many handles for shared drinking.

Modern recipes for Christmas wassail begin with a base of wine, fruit juice or mulled ale, sometimes with brandy or sherry, apples or oranges, and possibly call for beaten eggs to be tempered into the drink.

By designer Carol A.L. Martin, this tartan suggests yuletide decorations and the  colors of a spicy Christmas punch.

For a rich and spicy lambswool wassail recipe made with Madeira, click the punch bowl!