Wassail, which was much liked by the English, accompanied hearty Christmas meals. The word comes from the expression Waes haeil which in the vernacular means "be thou well" or "to your health". This non-alcoholic beverage was served in large bowls and was replaced in the XVIIIth century by punch made from fruit juice and highly alcoholic spirits. Ale, beer and porter were also favorites for family celebrations.
Well-to-do Francophones bought wines imported from France as well as liqueurs and spirits. Home-made wines and beer, however, replaced these expensive alcoholic drinks for much of the Francophone community. Starting in the fall, wine from potatoes, cherries, rhubarb, sarsaparilla and, of course, the famous malt beer made from home-grown barley, were made according to recipes passed down from generation to generation. These drinks, served in large glasses, were considered a sign of hospitality and conviviality during the festive season.