Waes Hael!

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kk803Specimen of domestic apple, collected by Charles Bailey in 1917, from Manchester Museum’s Herbarium Collection.

A Christmas Toast

Who doesn’t like to have a toast at Christmas?

The Anglo-Saxon tradition of Wassailing was most likely enjoyed throughout Britain many years before Christianity. The beginning of each year greeted by ‘the Lord of the manor’ with a toast of waes hael, meaning “be well” or “be in good health” and with his followers replying drink hael! And although it was traditionally done on New Year’s Eve, wassailing was also celebrated by some on the twelfth day of Christmas.

IMG_0963Old Christmas, Illustrated London News 24 Dec 1842 (source)

A Traditional Recipe

The wassail drink was originally made from a warmed ale or cider, blended with curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar (today a lighter version is more common with just added spices and honey); it…

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