A Drink for the Yule Season

While most of us celebrate Yule only on the Winter Solstice, Yule is actually a season. If you have northern European ancestry, your ancestors likely celebrated Yule for a period of 3-10 days, depending on where they lived and what their cultural customs were.

The first day of Yule in 2020 is December 21st and the last day is January 1st. Throughout that 11 days, any custom you celebrate for Yule is appropriate, so don’t stress over doing things only on the 21st. I know some people who plan a series of family-oriented things or rituals each day to represent or otherwise celebrate the season as long as possible.

Whatever you decide, drinks are almost always part of the festivities, and if you choose not to drink alcohol, most Yule-themed drinks can be made non-alcoholic.

Here is a recipe my husband and I made up, which we nicknamed ‘Krampus’ because why not?

What you will need (makes 3-4 standard mug-fulls):

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 orange slices
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Allspice
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • optional: 1/2 cup Scotch* (the smokier/peatier the better)

What you will do:

  1. Heat all the ingredients except the Scotch on the stovetop in a pan and bring to a soft boil. Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes, then stir in the Scotch if you’re adding it.
  2. Garnish each mug with one of the oranges and any of the cloves if you want.

*We used Lagavulin 16, as its a nice smooth Scotch with just enough peat and smoke to really complement and contrast the sweet of the juice and cider. Any other Scotch would probably be fine though. You could also optionally substitute 1/2 of the cider with mead.

A kitchen witch spell for good luck

As this year comes to a close, I’m struck by where I was this time last year, as I’m sure most of us can say, not even remotely anticipating what was really to come.

Around this time each year, as Yule moves closer, I start to re-examine my year that’s finishing and think forward to the new one, and what I want to accomplish, achieve, learn, and how I want to grow.

In case ‘good luck,’ is on your list of things you’d like to see come your way in the next months or year, this kitchen spell is simple and easy to perform, and will really pick up the energy of your home, leaving it feeling brighter and more welcoming, ushering in good luck for you.

I’ve tried to include ingredients that you should be able to find any time of year, but also that won’t be fresh flowers you may not be able to find right now, as it is winter for most of us.

What you will need:

  • A thumb-sized cut of fresh ginger, chopped or 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbsp peppermint leaves
  • 1/8 cup vervain pettles (you can substitute rose in a pinch)
  • a pot
  • enough water to fill the pot at least halfway
  • optional: cloves or cinnamon, cedar tips, orange slices

What you will do:

  1. Fill a pot on your stove about halfway with water and bring to a gentle rolling boil, then lower to medium heat.
  2. Add your ingredients and stir clockwise seven times slowly, picturing luck pouring into your home as a bright, glowing light, as you repeat:

I call luck into my life, I call luck into my home

3. Once you have made seven rotations with your stirring spoon and chanted the phrase above each of those seven times, leave the pot on the stovetop to simmer as long as you want.

4. You can choose to throw out the spell components once you’re done, or you can let them cool and take them outside, returning them to the earth, thanking them for their assistance and energy.

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