Wassail gets its name from the Old Norse ves heill and Old English was hál, meaning "be fortunate," which is how we feel when we drink it. This British punch comes from a pagan rite in which revelers toasted to apple trees to ensure the harvest.
Wassail, a British punch, comes from a pagan rite in which revelers toasted to apple trees to ensure the harvest.
Heat oven to 350°. Place apples in baking dish; place light brown sugar in center of each apple. Pour 1 cup water in dish; bake 1 hour. Toast allspice berries, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in an 8-qt. saucepan over medium-high, 2 minutes. Add madeira, unsweetened cider, nutmeg, ginger, ale, dry hard cider, and orange peels; boil. Reduce to medium; simmer 1 hour. Add apples and any liquid; cook 10 minutes.