I shared this recipe a few years ago, but with the rainy cooler weather here in Santa Barbara and my friends and family shivering on the East Coast, I thought it would be the perfect time to share again!
Wassail is a hot drink that is a version of mulled cider. The word “wassail” comes from an Anglo-Saxon phrase which means “good health.”. I usually make a few batches over the winter and for holiday parties. It’s also quite wonderful when I’m feeling under the weather as it is made with citrus and ginger. With the addition of dark rum or bourbon, it becomes a delicious drink on a cold winter’s evening.
Here is the version I’ve been making for 25 years…
½ cup sugar
1 quart water
12 whole cloves
4 sticks cinnamon
4 whole allspice
2-4 Tablespoons chopped, crystalized ginger (you can find it at Trader Joes)
3 cups orange juice (fresh squeezed is ideal but who has time for that?)
1 cup of lemon juice, fresh preferred (I use Meyer lemons and I do squeeze ’em!)
2 quarts apple cider
Bourbon or dark rum, if desired (duh) I make it straight and let my guests add the amount of alcohol they like….no judgement here!
In a 5 quart pot simmer water and sugar for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
Strain mixture. (I just fish the spices out with a slotted spoon). Add ginger, orange juice, lemon juice, and apple cider. Let stand at room temperature, covered for 24 hours.
Before serving, strain, heat, and stir. Yum!
This can also be refrigerated and then heated when needed.