I never knew what the whole ‘wassailing’ thing was until this past Christmas. A friend gave me a brief description when I asked if anyone wanted spiced apple cider. He said, “I would love a wassail.”
When I asked what it was, exactly, he explained that long ago, (how far the tradition dates back is unknown) people would make a “house-visit wassail”, a spiced apple cider which was made on their wood burning stove. It was left for a while to steep with different spices and citrus until it was warm, sweet and cinnamon-y. It often was served with a slice of bread they called a ‘sop’. I can’t get into the whole ‘sop’ thing, but I have made quite a few pitchers of wassail this winter and they seem to be welcomed wherever I take them! It’s a nice break from, or classy alternative to the usual coffee, or hot chocolate.
So the next time you have a meeting, a luncheon planned with ‘the girls’, or the kids are needing something to warm them up after a day of playing in the snow, make a treat everyone will love. Treat them to a wonderfully warm, soothing cup of wassail. It truly will warm you, body, mind and soul! It also makes your house smell amazing!
My Quick Homemade Wassail Recipe
1 64 oz. bottle of apple cider
1 1/2 tsp. whole allspice
8 cinnamon sticks
1/2 – 3/4 c. brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
3 TBSP. fresh orange zest, or the rind from 1/2 of an orange
1/4 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
Place all ingredients in a Dutch oven, or heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. Bring cider to a boil and then lower the heat, and simmer for about 1/2 hour. (You can allow the wassail to simmer for quite some time, or serve after 1/2 hr) Strain the wassail over a pitcher, but put the cinnamon sticks back in the wassail and only discard the allspice and orange rind. Serve hot and enjoy~! There are many different wassail recipes…this is one I made up one day with whatever ingredients I had on hand. Let me know what you think!