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Do you know this old English carol? “Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green. Here we come a-wandering so fair to be seen. Love and joy come to you. And to you your wassail, too. May God bless you and send you a Happy New Year. And God send you a Happy New Year!” Some may sing it as caroling but I still like the old version that includes wassail. Perhaps that is because we grew up drinking wassail at Christmas!
This song reminds me of the Boar’s Head Festival (where they always sang this song) and my Mom’s delicious homemade wassail. Almost every year for our Epiphany Open House, Mom would mix a big pot of wassail and leave it to simmer on the stove. There is something special about this delicious spiced drink of wassail. It has a different flavor than apple cider. It’s a bit tangier. Perhaps that is why I like wassail so much.
Wassail is a delicious drink to serve for large gatherings. I have carried on the tradition of serving wassail at our Christmas parties. Not only do people always enjoy this hot drink, it is rare to find someone who has tried wassail before. I love sharing new recipes like this one for wassail with others. A hidden bonus is that your house will smell lovely as the cinnamon and cloves simmer in the wassail on the stove!
While there are many variations of wassail recipes, our family recipe is truly an easy wassail recipe. There is no alcohol is this wassail recipe so adults and children can both enjoy it. If you have never tried wassail, give it a try this Christmas!
Here is our tried and true easy wassail recipe.
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3-4 sticks cinnamon
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 cups sugar
3 cups water
4 quarts (16 cups) apple juice
1 quart (4 cups) orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
Boil cinnamon sticks and cloves in water and sugar. Boil until sugar is dissolved. Cool. Mix juices into pan. Simmer. You can strain out the cloves and cinnamon before serving, or leave them in the pot to flavor the wassail that remains. Serve hot. This recipe makes about 2 gallons of wassail.
You can keep wassail hot by warming it on the stove in a large pan. If you are serving wassail for a party, a large crock pot (like this one) works well to keep your wassail warm. That said, wassail is still tasty to drink when cold – and can easily be reheated in the microwave in individual mugs.