1In large pot, warm the cider over high heat until steam just begins to rise from the surface, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the sugar, spices, and the vanilla bean. Simmer for 30 minutes. Using a long handled fine mesh strainer, remove the spices form pot, then add the fruit juices and sherry. Find a large bowl, eleven friends and don’t forget your scarf. Like eggnog, here’s another drink that won’t pass muster with anyone who is squeamish about germs. Back in Jolly Olde England, the Christmas Eve tradition was for carolers to head off with a large bowl of sherry laced cider, which they passed form person to person. Since sips were often accompanied by kisses, the bowl was also known as the “loving cup.” Roughly translated from the Old English, “Wassail!” means “To Your Health!”. Holding aloft the mighty wassail bowl, the leader of the carolers would cry, “Wassail!” and his no doubt groggy compatriots would respond, “All hail!” They would go from house to house, caroling in exchange for a refill of cider. Most households welcomed the sherry soaked revelers, whose visit was considered good luck.