Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wassail Bowl

So far, we're batting 1.000 on the beverages in the New England section. Fisherman's Swizzle was a huge success, and now my son the lawyer's friends have put their stamp of approval on Wassail Bowl, aptly named for the season. This is mulled cider with rum in it, basically. It's good. Just the thing to drink when the weather is hovering around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which it has been for the last week.

He and his fiancee had a party on Sunday. We were recruited to make deviled eggs, and I offered to make the cider. Even though they live on the same block we live on, we, or rather I, elected to drive, because I didn't want to go striding down the street in the pouring rain, carrying a tray of deviled eggs, or a crockpot containing the Wassail Bowl.

It's really easy to make, except for the blade of mace, which does not seem to exist in that temple of culinary experimentation, Safeway. But I did discover, on a website called WiseGeek, that mace is the outside covering of nutmeg. It comes in red bands around the nutmeg. WiseGeek says it should be added at the end because cooking tends to make it bitter.
However,I just left it out. When I make Wassail Bowl again, I'm going to cut the amount of sugar in half.

Wassail Bowl

1 gallon cider
1/2 pound (one cup) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon
2 blades mace
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups dark rum
2 lemons, cut into thin slices and halved
3 oranges, cut into thin slices and halved

1. Place the cider and brown sugar in a large kettle. Tie the allspice, cloves, cinnamon and mace in a muslin bag and add with salt. Bring to a boil and simmer fifteen minutes.
2.Remove spice bag and add the rum, lemons, and oranges just before serving. Serve hot.
Makes about three dozen servings.

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