On this evening, long known in Britain as Twelfth Night, medieval participants celebrated the conclusion of the Yule season. They typically drank sweetened and spiced ale or wine from a two-handled “loving cup” crafted for simultaneous use, a custom attributed to St. Margaret. The name wassail was derived from the 13-century Norse drinking salutation waes hail, “be thou healthy,” and is closely related to the English words whole and holy.
The Wassail Song, unlike other Christmas carols, does not celebrate the Incarnation. It instead celebrates the New Year. The wassail is the content of the glass or goblet filled with spiced or mulled wine or ale).
According to Wikipedia:
Wassail the beverage is a hot, mulled punch often associated with Yuletide. Historically, the drink was a mulled cider made with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and topped with slices of toast. Modern recipes begin with a base of wine, fruit juice, or mulled ale, sometimes with brandy or sherry added. Apples or oranges are often added to the mix. While the beverage typically served as “wassail” at modern holiday feasts with a medieval theme most closely resembles mulled cider, historical wassail drinks were completely different, more likely to be mulled beer or mead. Sugar, ale, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon would be placed in a bowl, heated, and topped with slices of toast as sops.
Alton Brown has a recipe for wassail.
So does allrecipes.com.
Wassail, wassail all over the town
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree
With the wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee
I’m opting to include a less traditional version Mike and Bots celebrated on the Satellite of Love in their own unique way: