Wassailing is a traditional ceremony with the purpose of awaking the apple trees and scaring away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest. Wassail is a term derived from the Old English "waes haeil," or "be thou well." Wassailing lies at the heart of the modern custom of Christmas caroling. Historical wassails were made of mulled beer or mead with sugar, ale, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon heated in a bowl, and then topped with slices of toast as sops.
4 whole cloves
3 12-oz. bottles of good brown ale
1 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. each ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger