Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, December 16, 2010

SFoodie Advent Calendar, Day 12: Wassail from Drinkwell Soda

Posted By on Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Drinkwell's naturally fermented wassail.
  • Drinkwell's naturally fermented wassail.

The SFoodie Advent Calendar counts down the days before Christmas /Nondenominationalwinterholiday, one treat at a time.

Here's a bit of etymology we bet you don't know: The infamous "wazzzaaaaaaah" in this Budweiser commercial isn't, in fact, a corruption of "what's up" but "wassail!" which comes from the Old English waes haeil, or "Good health!" Budweiser had original intended it to be a holiday special featuring men wearing top hats and elaborate sideburns hoisting giant steins, but quickly realized that "wazzzaaaaaah!" had the potential to be a year-round slogan. And so it was.

Poor wassail, an ancient and noble winter drink now banished to the plastic mugs of Ren Faire jesters and church Christmas potluck-goers. Lorraine Ottens, whose Drinkwell Softers show up at farmers' markets and a few local grocery stores, decided to update the drink's image by introducing a seasonal, naturally fermented, probiotic-lush, and nonalcoholic wassail ($5 plus $1 bottle deposit).

Gently fizzy, the wassail soda has the sweetness of apple cider ― Ottens said she's added a little persimmon juice in there, too ― and a potent hit of allspice and cloves. The soda is then sparkled up through lactic fermentation using whey from Straus Yogurt. Show up at your friends' door with a bottle of the wassail, caroling "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and pray they'll let you in afterward, or do what SFoodie did and make cocktails: A slug of dark rum, a squirt of lime, and a finger of wassail turns out to have potent health-giving effects indeed. Wazzzzahhhh!

Drinkwell Sodas will have the wassail at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market on Sat., Dec. 18, and Thu., Dec. 23 (a special appearance).

Previous days:
Dec. 1: Fruitcake from Schubert's Bakery
Dec. 2: Vegan Peppermint Joe-Joes
Dec. 3: Coconut snowball from Sweet Adeline
Dec. 6: Cranberry linzer verrine from Citizen Cake
Dec. 7: Panettone from Dianda's
Dec. 8: Clarine's Florentines
Dec. 9: Boccalone's truffled mortadella
Dec. 10: Plum pudding from John Campbell's
Dec. 13: Buche de Noel from Les Elements
Dec. 14: Thorough Bread's gibassier
Dec. 15: Charles Chocolates' edible box

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie
  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Jonathan Kauffman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"