What’s For Dinner?



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Cuisine: Cocktail Drink

Drink: Cocktail hour

Wassail, a traditional warm holiday punch, combines lager, dark rum, lemon juice and ginger. The name means "be in good health." It is associated with New Year's celebrations and with the Christmas traditions of caroling or wassailing, most famously in the Christmas carol "The Wassail Song." ("Love and joy come to you, And to you a wassail too.") In the song, the "wassail" refers to good wishes, not to the beverage. But tradition has it that carolers might hope to be rewarded with a bowl of wassail to drink.

Hands on time: 15 minutes  Total time: 15 minutes  Serves: 8-10


    2 quarts lager-style beer

    5 ounces simple syrup (see Notes)

    3 ounces lemon juice

    1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

    1 quart dark rum

    Apple slices, for garnish

    Lemon slices, for garnish


In a medium saucepan, combine the beer, simple syrup, lemon juice, nutmeg and ginger. Heat over medium-high until hot, about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not let it boil. Add the rum and stir well.
Place the apple and lemon slices in a heat-proof punch bowl. Add the punch and stir three times.


Note: Make simple syrup by mixing equal parts sugar and water and bringing them to a boil. Add a lemon slice, cool, then keep tightly covered in the fridge until needed. It will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

-- From A.J. Rathbun's "Good Spirits" (Harvard Common Press, $29.95)


Nutritional info currently unavailable.

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