What Is Wassail?
“Wassail” refers to both a traditional English hot mulled cider and a festive beverage that is often served during the Christmas season. The term “wassail” itself comes from the Old English phrase “Wæs hæil,” which means “be healthy” or “be whole.”
The drink has its roots in medieval England and was originally a hot, spiced ale or mead that was consumed during the winter months to celebrate and toast good health.
The specific recipe for a wassail cocktail can vary, but it typically involves a base of warm apple cider or other fruit juices, along with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Some recipes may also include alcohol, such as brandy or rum, to add an extra kick. The drink is often garnished with slices of apples or oranges.
What Is The Tradition Of Wassail?
Wassail is not only a beverage but also a tradition. In medieval times, wassailing involved singing and toasting to the health of the apple trees in orchards, with the belief that this would ensure a good harvest in the coming year.
Today, the term is more commonly associated with the warm, spiced drink enjoyed during the holiday season. The Wassail cocktail is a modern interpretation that often incorporates the traditional flavors associated with the drink.
The ingredients in a Wassail cocktail can vary, but they typically include warm, spiced elements reminiscent of the original Wassail drink. Common ingredients may include apple cider, spices like cinnamon and cloves, and sometimes a spirit like rum or brandy.
|Tips:- Storage Instructions- “Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also make this in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to heat and enjoy.” Reheating Instructions- “The microwave, stove, or slow cooker can be used to reheat this hot wassail. Just heat until it’s your desired temperature.”
Alcoholic Wassail Recipe
|4 (6 ounce servings)
|1 hr 45 mins
- 6 small honeycrisp apples
- 6 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 1 gallon apple cider divided
- 1 medium navel orange
- 10 whole cloves
- 2 medium lemons
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise pods
- 1 can cranberry juice cocktail
- Bourbon or brandy to serve (optional)
- Frozen cranberries, thawed, to serve (optional)
- “Preheat the oven to 350°F.”
- “Using a paring knife, cut out the core and stem of each apple, leaving about the bottom 1/2 inch of each apple intact. Using a small spoon or grapefruit spoon, scoop out any remaining core and seeds to form a cavity in each apple. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Divide the brown sugar mixture among each apple cavity, firmly packing it as necessary.”
- “In the bottom of a pie plate or baking pan, pour 1 cup of the apple cider. Place the prepared apples in the pan and evenly spoon the sugar mixture into each apple. Bake until the apples are very tender and collapsing, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.”
- “Meanwhile, cut the orange in half crosswise and stick the whole cloves in the peel. Cut one lemon in half and thinly slice the second lemon.”
- “In a large pot, add the prepared orange, cinnamon sticks, star anise pods, and the remaining apple cider. Squeeze the halved lemon into the pot and add the sliced lemon. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until aromatic, 1 hour.”
- “Add the cranberry juice and the cooked apples with any of their juices to the pot and stir to combine. Taste for sweetness and add more brown sugar if you like. Serve hot or warm, with alcohol of choice and cranberries, if you like.”
Serving & Presentation
Part of the Wassail experience is in the presentation. Serve your Wassail in mugs or heat-resistant glasses garnished with a cinnamon stick or a slice of orange. The aromas and vibrant colors create an inviting tableau, enticing guests to savor both the visual and gustatory pleasures of this festive concoction.
|Note:- “To make it on the stovetop, add all the ingredients (except the garnish) to a pot. Turn the heat to medium-heat and let it cook for 15 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the alcohol. It shouldn’t simmer. Let it cook for another 30 minutes.”
Amount Per Serving:
Feel free to adjust the ingredients and proportions to suit your taste preferences. The Wassail cocktail is often enjoyed during the winter holidays, making it a festive and warming beverage for gatherings.
The Wassail cocktail is more than just a drink; it’s a celebration of tradition, friendship, and the joyous spirit of the holiday season.
Whether you choose the classic recipe or one of its creative variations, the Wassail cocktail is sure to warm hearts and create lasting memories. So, gather your loved ones, raise your glasses high, and toast to health, happiness, and the magic of Wassail. Cheers!