The Traditional Wassail

Tradition has it that holding a Wassail in the late winter helps to encourage a strong apple crop. Wassail literally meaning “good health” or “be you healthy”, and is derived from the salute ‘Waes Hail’ and to the drink of wassail, a hot mulled cider. This is traditionally drunk as an integral part of wassailing, an ancient southern drinking ritual intended to confer good health to both apple trees and cider drinkers. If this involves large numbers of people consuming mulled cider on a cold winter’s night and venturing out into the orchard making a lot of noise to drive off evil spirits and wake the gods or goddesses in the apple trees then who are we to argue?