I like a good pinot noir or tempranillo at any time of the year, let alone during the holidays, or even a lovely flute of bubbly. It is a time of celebration, after all!
The celebratory drink during the Tudor period was a spicy tipple called wassail, which was similar to punch or mulled cider but with the addition of beer. Picture this: A lovely ale with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Not bad so far. Add a generous helping of sugar and some apples. Hmmmm. Now, heat it all up! I can imagine it was an acquired taste.
“Waes hael” is Old English for “good health,” which is where the name “wassail” came from. In a time when water was unsafe to drink and in a place where the cold, damp air permeated your home most of the year, a hit of this sauce could have been the healthiest thing at the Christmas festivities for all we know!