Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Centuries ago in Merry Olde England, feudal lords and ladies threw a big Christmas Eve bash and called it "wassailing" Gathering in their great holly trimmed castle halls with the blazing yule log burning on the hearth they sang caroles and watched pantomimes performed by wandering players. They would sit around the huge round tables feasting on venison and flaming plum puddings, dipping into the wassail bowl to toast each others health and welfare for the coming year.
The tradition of hot punches at Christmastime in America is a carry over from colonial days when carolers and revelers roamed the streets stopping here and there for a hot mug of wassail or Flaming Bishop.

3 quarts beer
1 pound sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
4 slices lemon
16 ounces sherry
10-12 spiced whole crab apples studded with whole cloves.
In a large soup kettle cook one quart of beer and the sugar and spices over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add remaining beer, sherry and apples. Heat 15mim=nutes but do not boil. To serve pour mixture into warmed punch bowl and float apples on top. Yeild :25 four ounce punch cups

1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups fresh orange juice or frozen(thawed and reconstituted)
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1/2 gall apple cider
1 teaspoon whole cloves
 1 stick cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
Pour all juices into a large enamel or stainless steel pan. Add cinnamon and cloves tied into an cheescloth bag. Bring to a simmering boil over a medium heat. Cover  pan and allow mixture to simmer for one hour. Dissolve sugar in hot wassail before rmoving from heat. Serve hot in mugs or punch cups. Yield:16 servings. 
ps... If you would like to give the punch a little more "punch" add 1 pint brandy  to the cooked wassail. Heat but do not boil.

In Scandanavia, December is special month devoted almost exclusively to the preparation of food and drink and decorations. The Christmas warmth abounding in the part of the world is probably unsurpassed by that of any other. A famous Swedish holiday tradition is the serving of a hot punch called glogg. The word means glow and derives its name from the sometime ritual of burning sugar over the drink or igniting the drink itself. Even if it isnt ignited a pleasant glow is experienced from inhaling the distinct aroma and tasting the indescribable flavor of this hot  spicy drink.  Glogg lets you forget the outside snow and cold while family and friends gather around acrackling fire, toasting the health of those near and far.
Use stainless steel or enamel 6 quart pot. 
mix 2 bottles  dry red wine, 2 bottles port and 2 cups aquavit or gin or vodka. 
2 cups seedless raisins 
2 cups blanched whole almonds
the slivered peel of an orange
2 tablespoons of cardomom seeds crushed with mortar and pestle
10 whole cloves
1 and 1/2 cups sugar.
Cover glogg mixture and let it stand about 8 hours to let the flavors develop and mingle.
When ready to serve stir well and bring the mixture to a full boil over high heat. Serve immediately right from the pot. Use mugs with handles and have a small spoon for each mug to scoop up the tasty raisins and almonds at the bottom of each drink.
Can be made a day or two before and kept in refrigerator tightly covered.

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