MANY OF THESE drinks are tied to customs that are thousands of years old and meant to warm the body at the coldest and darkest time of the year. Here’s to bringing people together to celebrate life — let’s hope it never goes out of style. If you want to drink the old fashioned way, here are some holiday drinks you can make with a chaser of history.
Wassail dates back to pre-Christian fertility rites when villagers would parade through their orchards in mid-winter shouting loudly and pouring cider on their plants in an attempt to scare away evil spirits and ensure a good crop in the coming season. Though this custom, known as wassailing, is still practiced in the cider-producing counties of England, it has more commonly evolved into a night of knocking on neighbor’s doors, caroling, and spreading good cheer during the holidays.