What the Heck is Wassail?

what the heck is wassail? Beverage
What the Heck is Wassail?
  • Prep 5 min
  • Total 50 min
  • Servings 8

A warm, tart punch perfect for a cold winter evening! MORE+ LESS-

Created December 8, 2014


gallon apple cider
cups orange juice
cup lemon juice
whole cloves
cinnamon sticks
pieces crystallized ginger
Optional: Rum or whisky, as desired


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  • 1
    Add the apple cider, orange juice, lemon juice, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and ginger to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • 2
    Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  • 3
    Strain the liquid to remove the cloves, cinnamon sticks, and chunks of ginger.
  • 4
    Serve in a mug, garnish with cinnamon sticks. Add a shot of whiskey or rum to each mug if desired.

Expert Tips

  • To keep the mixture warm, place in a slow cooker on low.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • When you've got the urge to go a-caroling, make sure to have plenty of this warm, spiced apple punch on hand. 

    We’ve all wondered. It’s okay to admit it.

    Just what the heck is wassail and where did it come from? What does it all mean? If I just sip my spiked punch will anyone be the wiser?

    Eh, probably not. But it’s fun to learn new things, so Imma tell you all about it anyway. 

    Wassail is both an activity and a drink!

    Wassailing started way back when in England, where people gathered around singing and drinking to the health of apple trees on the twelfth night of Christmas. They sang in hopes of awakening the trees and scaring away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest the next fall.

    The singing would be accompanied by food and drink, specifically a warm and spiced apple cider.

    I’m going to show you how to make your own wassail, adapted from a recipe I found. I left out the rum, but if you plan on singing to the trees, I suggest you add a glug or two to your cup.

    First up, gather some apple cider, orange juice, lemon juice, cloves, crystallized ginger and cinnamon sticks. Wassail is deliciously tart, as you probably just guessed.

    You can make this in a slow cooker or on the stove. I’m showing you how to make it on the stove, because I’m impatient and I didn’t want to wait all day for my wassail. Grab a big ol’ pot and start dumping everything in, starting with the apple cider.

    Pour in the orange juice.

    Follow that up with the lemon juice.

    And toss in your cloves, cinnamon sticks, and a few pieces of the crystallized ginger.

    Bring this to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let it simmer for 45 minutes or so before serving (pour it through a strainer to catch all the chunky bits first).

    You can also pop it in a slow cooker to keep warm.

    Garnish with an extra cinnamon stick and a shot of rum or whiskey.

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