Sunday, December 21, 2014


Wassail (Old English wæs hæl, literally 'be you healthy') refers both to the salute 'Waes Hail' and to the drink of wassail, a hot mulled cider traditionally drunk as an integral part of wassailing, an ancient southern English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year (source, Wikipedia).

I don't know when my family first began the tradition of drinking wassail during the Christmas season.  Grandma got the recipe from friends and started making it.  Mom has made this drink for every Christmas Eve as long as I can remember. We walk in her house on Christmas Eve and instantly look for the crockpot, with the warm drink in it! For various reasons we, aren't celebrating Christmas Eve at my parents' house this year. A pot of wassail is now simmering on my stove, the smell filling my house with a delicious aroma. The warm drink, on a chilly day, just hits the spot. It's actually a pretty healthy drink, made up of fruit juices and apple cider. If you want to liven it up a little, a splash of spiced rum is great with it (Grandma would never approve of this!  Ha ha!)
This recipe makes a big pot of wassail.  It is easily halved for a smaller crowd.  It also refrigerates well and gets better with age, as the cinnamon and cloves continue to spice the mixture. I think it's best with fresh-squeezed orange juice but bottled juice works just fine.
Seeing these pictures I realize I should polish the copper pot. Oh, well!


2 quarts apple cider
2 cups pure orange juice
Large can (46 ounces) pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
Sugar to taste (I add no sugar)
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a pot.  Simmer until ready to use. (Can be kept warm in crockpot).

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