This easy and traditional Apple Cider Wassail Recipe is the perfect holiday drink the whole family can enjoy! Whether you are going caroling or opening presents, everyone will be sure to enjoy a big mug full of this holiday beverage!
Historically Hungry – Old Recipes Made New
It’s time for another round of fun traditional recipes! Since the holidays are coming up, Amy and I wanted to focus on traditional Victorian Era drinks served for the holidays. To see what other Historical Recipes we have done, click here!
I chose to make a non-alcoholic wassail based on apple cider. I wanted something that not only could I enjoy while pregnant, and also something that my girls could help me prepare and enjoy. Often times during family gatherings and special holidays we prepare special drinks and fun food for adults, but we totally forget that there are little ones present who would enjoy something special as well. And something more special than a juice box. This wassail is easy to make, the little ones loved helping me, and it tasted great for everyone! And for those adults that chose to, you can easily “spike it”!
The Tradition of Wassail
“Here we come a-wassailing, Among the leaves so green, Here we come a-wand’ring, So fair to be seen! Love and Joy come to you, and to you your wassail, too, And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year, and God send you a happy new year! “
What exactly is a Wassail?
The term “Wassail” has evolved over time, from a simple greeting of good health, to a toast for friends and family, and in some places was also made as a special honor to apple orchards to ensure a good harvest the following year. Wassail is a drink made with either spiced cider, mulled ale or wine, roasted apples, sugar and spices. In the later Victorian Era, it was served out of large bowls to friends and family who came to parties, or who visited caroling. There was pretty much always a pot of wassail at the ready for whoever dropped by. People would dunk pieces of bread or cake into the wassail bowl, which is partly how we came to say “a toast”. Whether you incorporate this winter beverage into your pagan offerings or as part of your Yuletide joy, this cozy drink is one you will enjoy having again and again! If you want a more in depth look at Wassail and its traditions, I encourage you to read this article!
Supposedly Wassail was a favorite drink of Charles Dickens (he mentions different kinds of “punch” in almost all of his books), and I think there is no other perfect tie in to a holiday drink than one of the most famous holiday stories – A Christmas Carol! Ok, its a slightly flimsy tie-in, but I am sticking with it.
How do you make a traditional wassail?
We made our cider wassail ingredients included some great local apple cider, roasted apples and oranges, lots of great whole spices, and just a touch of honey for some sweetness. We simmered ours on the stove all day and just kept going back for more!
Wassail seems to be one of those great family recipes where everyone puts their own spin on it, but it is always delicious!
Other ways you can serve it:
- Stir in some caramel
- Top with a dollop of whipped cream
- Spike it with some whiskey or brandy (the last one is for adults only, please!).
Want to do more reading about “A Christmas Carol”, caroling in general and Wassail?
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- I am pretty much obsessed with these Baby Lit Books, and this A Christmas Carol: A Colors Primer is no exception. Lovely illustrations and a fun way to learn colors, this is perfect for babies and little tots.
- A Christmas Carol: Seek and Find Classics is a gorgeous and fun book for kids to get introduced to the classic Charles Dickens novel. Perfect for kiddos aged 6 and up!
- For fun-loving historical buffs like myself, check out Convivial Dickens: The Drinks of Dickens and His Times. For “research purposes” of course.
Get Your Kids in the Kitchen
- Kids Aged 0-3 can help you add the spices into the pot and pick out the produce.
- Kids aged 4-7 can help you pour in the cider to the pot as well as cut the apples in half, and stick cloves in the orange.
- Kids aged 8-10+ can help you stir the wassail while it is simmering and can help you pour and serve mugs to all your guests.
This easy and traditional Apple Cider Wassail is the perfect holiday drink the whole family can enjoy! Whether you are going caroling or opening presents, everyone will be sure to enjoy a big mug full of this holiday beverage!
2 quarts apple cider
juice 1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 TBSP whole cloves
1/2 cup honey
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 star anise
6 allspice berries
(optional: 1/2 cup brandy or whiskey)
Preheat oven to 350.
Slice the apples in half and scoop out the core. Fill the hole with sugar and place in a 9×13 baking pan.
Poke the whole cloves into the orange and place into the baking dish with the apples.
Place 1″ of water in the bottom of hte pan and place the pan into the oven to roast for 40 minutes.
While the fruit is roasting, pour the apple cider into a large stock pot.
Add remaining spices, lemon juice, and the honey to the cider.
Allow to barely simmer while the fruit finishes roasting (When the fruit is done roasting, add it to the pot as well).
Keep heating on low heat to keep warm while you enjoy!