warming up with wassail

January 4, 2018

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.

Warming up with Wassail

A great big cup of this hot golden goodness will be sure to keep the chill away!

Here is the version I’ve been making for 25 years…

Holiday Wassail


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.


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  • Merrell Hansen January 4, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    This sounds delish. St. Louis was super cold – with windchills we hit -16 last week. That said, we’ve had an easy time of it compared to the east coast! If we dip deep into colder temps, I’m definitely making a pot…the ingredients will be on stand by. ….. we did get the nasty bug going around and survived with the help of our doctors and hot tea with lots of lemon and honey from my hives. If any of your readers are bee keepers, please encourage them to give a bottle to any of their friends under the weather. Along with lemons and English breakfast tea, life is sweeter again. Thanks for this posting. I’ll share it with Dorothy as soon as I can get back over to visit her.

    • edbdesignssb January 5, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      This is so yummy. I’ve been making it forever and it’s wonderful for parties, sickness, and I love having a mug in the evenings. We have lots of honey here in SB at the local Farmers Markets. Love it! Please give Dorothy a hug for me. 🙂