There are roughly . . . No, wait, let me get the exact number. Ah! There are precisely a kajillion recipes for Wassail available on the Internet. Here's one:
3 pints brown ail
half pound white sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spices (cinnamon or allspice, nutmeg, mace)
7 roasted crabapples
1 pint hard cider
3 lemon slices
Roast the apples for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Place them at the bottom of the serving bowl and dust with spices. Then put the beer, cider, sugar, and cloves in a large pan and heat (but do no boil) on the stove, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is quite hot. Pour the mixture into the serving bowl, float the lemon rings, and serve.
I got this recipe at the Drinking With Dickens event on Monday. It's worth mentioning that there are nonalcoholic wassail recipes that are every bit as festive. And, as you can guess, the recipe can be adapted to taste.
And speaking of hot festive drinks . . .
My own favorite Yuletide drink is mulled wine, not for its flavor (though that is excellent) but because we mull the wine the old-fashioned way: By placing a poker in the wood stove until its end is red-hot, and then plunging the hot iron into the drink.
What a terrific moment that is! The wine bubbles and boils and a great hiss of steam shoots out. If you can't be merry after that, there's no hope for you.