Red Berry Wassail
12 cups water
5 raspberry tea bags (the berry, not raspberry leaf)
10 whole allspice
16 whole cloves
6 cinnamon sticks
12 ounces canned frozen cranberry juice concentrate
2 or 3 large red apples
Agave syrup, to taste
1) Add water to a large pot. Slice the apples in small chunks and add to the water. Add the tea bags, spices, juice concentrate and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to allow tea to brew and spices to infuse in the wassail.
2) Remove from heat and add agave to taste. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes and then strain into a serving bowl or pitcher.
An interesting historical note about this drink: Apple tree wassailing was a ceremony in Europe which involved drinking to the health of the apple trees. The villagers would gather around the apple trees with shotguns or pots and pans and made a tremendous racket to raise the Sleeping Tree Spirit and scare off evil spirits. One tree would be selected and wassail poured over its roots. Pieces of toast soaked in the cider were tied to the branches. The wassail song was chanted as a blessing to bring an abundant apple harvest the following year.