An old English drink, reminiscent of hot cider, used to welcome the harvest season, Wassail is full of fresh fruity flavors and deep warm aromas. From apples to cranberries, pineapples to lemons, whole cloves to whiskey this drink will have you feeling warm even as the nights grow cooler. If you love this, you will also love this Spiced Cider and Hot Buttered Rum.
What is it?
Wassail (pronounced waa-sl) can be compared to a hot mulled cider. Traditionally wassail was made of hard liquor, fruit from the harvest, and warm spices. This changed depending on the season and what was being harvested.
Given that typically this drink would be enjoyed in the fall, apples were often the fruit of choice. The drink itself originated from the old English term ‘waes hael’ meaning ‘in good health’. It’s a cheers of sorts to round out the harvest season.
Ingredients You Need
- Orange + Pineapple + Cranberry Juices: These add up to a wonderful fruit punch.
- Brown Sugar: To offset the tang of the juice.
- Whole Spices: The classic smells and flavors of the season.
- Sliced Fruit: Not just decoration, these will give off their essential flavors to the drink.
What does it taste like?
Wassail is tangy and sweet, more so than a hot toddy, but with the same punch. The sweetness comes from the apple cider and brown sugar, and are used to help balance the sour and acidity coming from the more tropical notes of pineapple and orange.
Depending on the whiskey used (optional) you’ll have a warm and smooth alcoholic beverage. You can easily leave the whiskey out and it will be just as delicious and safe for all to enjoy.
How to make wassail?
This is one of the easiest drinks to make for a crowd! Simply add all the ingredients to a 5-quart slow cooker and set to low heat for 3-4 hours.
Change it to warm and guests can serve themselves all night long.
- Given that the recipe was used to signify the harvest, be sure to use the best ingredients you can find. In using fresh fruits, use organic and be sure to clean well.
- In choosing an apple cider, pick one that is local to your region without a lot of added spices (we will be adding our own!).
- Adding whiskey is one way to bring it to the next level. Choose a mid to top-shelf whiskey. Choosing a bottom-shelf whiskey will overpower the symphony of fruit flavors we’re aiming for with an unwelcomed bitter note.
- Whiskey can be set to the side as well for guests to add in their perfect amount.
Leftover wassail can be stored in a pitcher glass in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
My Best Drink Offerings
- 3 cups apple cider
- 2 cups cranberry juice
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 2 whole cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 tbsp whole allspice
- 3 lemon slices 1/2 lemon
- 3 orange slices 1/2 orange
- 4 apple slices 1/2 apple
- A lil whiskey optional
- In a 5 quart crock pot on low heat, add all of the ingredients.
- Allow the punch to warm for 3-4 hours. Serve warm. Ladle into serving glasses.