Here We Come A-Wassailing!

Magnus Grey closed the report. “The Royal Guard did very well this year. Thank you.”

Gwendolen Kincade had started to pack up her things, when her assistant, Charles Kendal, asked, “Sir, we were wondering if you would like to go wassailing with us.” She caught herself before she laughed.

Magnus smiled. “Thank you, but I must decline. Wassailing is for the young. It’s been years since I tore up the streets of Britain. Have fun though. I have many fond memories. When I was a child, my brother used to dip a slice of bread in the wassailing bowl and give it to me.”

Gwendolen looked shocked. “Eat the bread? You are supposed to give it to the eldest tree!”

“Why would you give good bread to a tree?”

“The druids say it’s so the orchard will have a good harvest in the coming year.”

“Britain has many things, but very few orchards.”

Charles interjected, “I thought you were supposed to give pudding to the farmhands who worked your estate?”

Both Magnus and Gwendolen spoke in unison, “What?”

“Each year, our farmers would visit the house, and my family would serve food and drink. If father was feeling particularly generous, he’d serve a punch made from sherry and raw eggs.”

Magnus and Gwendolen gave him a strange look. Gwendolen asked, “Why would you drink raw eggs? Eggs are for baking.”

“Or boiling,” added Magnus.

Charles gave a confused shrug. “I guess the tradition varies with where you came from.”

James walked in carrying a bottle of brandy and a few mugs. “I figured if your meeting was running long, you’d like a sip of something to warm you up.” He poured a mug for each of them and himself.

Magnus raised his mug, “A toast to good friends and the new year!”

The rest raised their mugs. “Cheers!”

 

Britain Wassailing Tradition

We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door;
But we are neighbours’ children,
Whom you have seen before.

With a crowd of good friends and high spirits, travel through Britannia’s towns, going door to door, and making sure to visit each tavern. At every spot, have a drink, such as a bottle of cider, ale, or brandy. Some groups bring a large wooden bowl of wassail to share with strangers. Those who drink from the bowl should reciprocate with a few pennies or small gifts. To keep warm between stops, dancing and singing is encouraged:

 Wassail! Wassail! All over the town,
Our bread it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the greatest Yew tree;
With the wassailing bowl, we’ll drink unto thee.

A version of Britain Ale Wassail is below, as are a list of favorite drinking establishments.

 

 Yew Wassailing Tradition

Wassaile the trees, that they may bear:
You many a
Plum and many a Pear:
For more or less fruit they will bring,
As you do give them Wassailing.

 Because of its druidic roots, there is more ceremony to Yew wassailing. Those who wish to participate often dress in nature-themed costumes, and a wassail queen or king is chosen from the crowd. That year’s monarch then leads a boisterous parade to the oldest tree in the orchard. There, she is lifted high into the tree where she places a piece of bread dipped in the cider of the Wassail. Those below will sometimes pour out a drink to the tree, bang on a drum, or sing the following:

Here’s to thee, old apple tree,
That blooms well, bears well.
Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full,
An’ all under one tree.
Hurrah! Hurrah!

A version of Yew Mulled Cider is below.

 

Manor Wassailing Tradition

Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
Virtue guide you, and have you a Happy New Year.
Virtue guide you all throughout the year.

Wassailing is a way for landed nobles to reward the people who worked their lands and maintained their households during the year. The lord or lady of the manor would invite everyone into their home for food and drink, in exchange for their goodwill:

Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,
And bring it right here.
Good tidings we bring
To you and your king;
We wish you a merry solstice
And a happy New Year!

A version of the Sherry Flip is below.

 

Recipes

 

Britain Ale Wassail

  • 6 small apples with core removed, baked with sugar
  • 6 12-oz bottles of brown ale
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

Yew Mulled Cider

  • 6 small apples with core removed, baked with sugar
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 2 quarts hard apple cider
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

While the apples bake, fill pot with liquids and spices in cheesecloth and warm over moderately low heat. Do not bring the wassail to a boil. Leave spices in until flavor is to taste. Add baked apples.

 

Sherry Flip

  • 56 oz sherry
  • 16 oz cider champagne
  • 4 oz simple syrup
  • 16 eggs (Pasteurized*)
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Add ingredients together and shake. Serve in a punchbowl over ice.

*The eggs can be left out of this recipe. If you do decide to make a traditional flip, be safe and use pasteurized eggs, as consumption of raw or undercooked eggs may increase the risk of foodborne illness.

 

Places to Visit

If you wish to visit Sosaria’s many pubs and taverns, below is a list. If you and your friends go wassailing on Great Lakes, we’d love to see pictures!

Britain:

  • The Blue Boar – 5°S, 12°E Trammel and Felucca
  • The Cat’s Lair – 9°S, 7°E Trammel and Felucca
  • The Salty Dog – 2°N, 20°E Trammel and Felucca
  • The Unicorn’s Horn – 13°S, 15°E Trammel and Felucca

 Buccaneer’s Den:

  • The Pirate’s Plunder – 53°S, 95°E Trammel and Felucca

 Fire Island

  • Fortune’s Fire Resort & Casino – 148°S, 166°W Trammel Only

 Ilshenar

  • Twin Oaks Tavern – 50°N, 17°E Ilshenar
  • Mistas Regsit – 42°N, 39°W Ilshenar
  • The Deuce’s Vinculum Inn – 83°N, 46°W Ilshenar

 Jhelom:

  • The Horse’s Head – 170°N, 7°E Trammel and Felucca

 Malas

  • Skeleton Swill – 23°N, 49°E Malas
  • Hanse’s Hostel – 16°N, 18°W Malas

 Minoc:

  • The Barnacle – 106°N, 81°E Trammel and Felucca

New Haven:

  • Lion’s Den – 83°S, 148°E Trammel Only
  • Gentle Rest – 79°S, 153°E Trammel Only

New Magincia:

  • The Modest Damsel – 56°S, 166°E Trammel and Felucca

 Nujel’m:

  • The Silver Bow – 32°N, 170°E Trammel and Felucca

 Ocllo:

  • The Albatross – 90°S, 164°E Felucca Only

Papua

  • The Just Inn – 5°S, 10°W Lost Lands

Serpent’s Hold:

  • The Dog and Lion, Pub – 158o115°E Trammel and Felucca
  • Fisherman’s Brew – 161°S, 118°E Trammel and Felucca

 Skara Brae

  • The Shattered Skull – 48°N, 53°W Trammel and Felucca

 Ter Mur

  • Royal City, open air tavern – 159°S, 42°W Ter Mur

 Trinsic

  • The Keg and Anchor – 102°S, 43°E Trammel and Felucca

 Vesper

  • The Marsh Hall – 63°N, 112°E Trammel and Felucca

 Zento

  • Sake Saka – 34°N, 44°W Tokuno