Where did the name McGowan's come from?

In my last post, I explained how wassail became a family tradition and that it all started with my mom.

My mom's maiden name is McGowan, so that's the short story.  For the longer story, check out my last post (below).  

I used the word "tradition" in that post.  I am a believer in tradition and giving credit where credit is due, and my mom deserves full credit for this whole wassail thing in my family.  Given all the good that is bottled up inside this wonderful drink, I couldn't think of any other name that would ever have been more fitting, or a better homage than to name it after the one who introduced it to me those many years ago!

So - As they would have said back in the olden days - Wassail!!!! (Cheers!... To your health!)... to my mom, Ms. McGowan!

Sooooo.... What's the story????

Now - I would normally tell you about wassail, it's history, how I got into selling wassail, but you can read about that on my About Wassail page.  (Do that later.)

My story - Wassail isn't just a drink, it's an experience!  I'll take you back to my childhood.  My parents were those 1960s cardigan-wearing type who hosted cocktail and holiday parties full of grownups.  You can probably picture the scene with the crowded living room, kitchen, family room, etc. full of people swapping business stories, talking about their kids and whatnot.  And, my parents would conduct the obligatory ritual of marching my two sisters and me into the room for a quick introduction, and then promptly march us back out and relegate us to our bedrooms, and maybe (maybe!) patronize us by letting us have a cup of sprite or something cliche and non-threatening.  

One year when I was still quite young, a friend of my mother's introduced her to this drink called wassail.  My mom took to it quickly and started making it for the family during the holidays.  It was an extraordinary drink!... and... we children were allowed to drink it and mingle with the adults thereafter at their parties. 

Here's the thing - This drink... wassail... was much more than the glib soft drink my parents would have given us previously.  It was special!  It was unique! AND, it was a drink that even some of the grownups would enjoy instead of alcohol.  Suddenly, we kids felt included... part of the group!  This simple little drink gave us a sense of belonging and acceptance among the grownups, and we were actually able to engage with them and participate in their conversations and camaraderie.  If you think about it, that's one heck of a gift to give a child!  It was so very much different than being separated from the adults, akin to being relegated to the children's table.

Here's how much of an impact this gift from my parents had.  My two sisters and I are now in our 50s.  Each of us has made wassail in our own households for decades, and we share it with our own families and friends now.  In short, my mom single-handedly created a new and lasting holiday tradition that has now carried on to two new generations... and my mom's grandchildren now also love this drink!

What's wassail? ( - is usually the first question I get) - I just tell people - It's Christmas in a cup!  That will get me a momentary deer-in-the-headlights look... momentarily.  But, as soon as they taste it, and the twinkle suddenly appears in their eyes, they get it!  And, almost to a person, they then respond immediately with - Yeah!... It IS Christmas in a cup!... good way of saying it!  Wassail is the liquid summation of all that is good!... It evokes tradition, warmth, togetherness,... love!

Wassail is an amazing drink!  It is much more than a beverage; it's an experience; and one that I hope you and your family will enjoy just as much as mine does!