Wassail- Christmas Punch that Warms the Soul- 20 Wassail Recipes
Wassail is a traditional Christmas punch that has roots as far back as 1066, when the Normans likely introduced this warm brew to England. Some may use other names to refer to traditional warm holiday punch, such as mulled cider or mulled wine.
My favorite Christmas festival is the annual Wassailfest in New Braunfels, Texas. It is held the first Thursday of December, starting at 6 pm, and lasting until the Wassail runs out! That’s usually about 10 pm, but I have seen them roll up the sidewalks about 9.
The store owners in the historic downtown area serve this traditional warm punch and open their doors for browsing. Some shops have both alcohol and non-alcohol versions of wassail to offer up. As you go from shop to shop sampling the Wassail, make notes! You get to vote for the best Wassail.
Most wassails have an apple juice base, and spices such as cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and cloves. Some add orange juice or other juices. My favorites tend to be the ones with pineapple juice added.
I spent some time on a couple of my favorite recipe sites and pulled together this collection of 20 wassail recipes. I tried to make sure that each was sufficiently different from the others. Recipes include a variety of combinations of juices. Apple juice or apple cider is usually the base. One recipe uses apricot nectar. Other ingredients include grapefruit juice, lemonade, and tea. Some of the recipes use interesting ingredients like cranberry jelly, Red Hots candies, or black pepper! I even found a sugar free version using Crystal Light. I have included versions with wine, sherry, brandy, and whiskey at the end.
New Braunfels Wassailfest
Classic Wassails and Some Unusual Ones Too
Ingredients: 4 cups orange juice, 8 cups apple juice, 4 cups water, 2 ¼ cups sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 8 allspice berries, 10 cloves
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 1 1/4 hours
Directions: Add water and sugar to pot. Bring to boil for 5 minutes. Add spices and cover for 60 minutes. Add juices and bring to rapid boil. Remove from heat and serve.
Ingredients: 2 quarts orange juice, 2 quarts apple cider, 1 cup lemon juice, 2 cups water, 4 cups sugar, 12 cloves, 12 cinnamon sticks
Prep Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Directions: Add water and sugar to pot. Bring to boil for 10 minutes. Add spices and cover for 60 minutes or overnight. Add cider and juices and bring to boil. Remove from heat and serve.
VARIATION: Add crystallized ginger
VARIATION: Add pineapple juice
Ingredients: 1 (6 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 (6 oz) can frozen fruit punch concentrate, 40 oz pineapple juice, 2 cups cranberry juice, 7 cups water, 2/3 cup sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 TBSP whole allspice, 1 TBSP cloves
Directions: Heat cranberry juice, water, and sugar on medium heat in large pot. Place spices in cheesecloth bag and tie. Add to pot and simmer 20 minutes. Remove spices. Add fruit juices and concentrates. Serve hot.
Ingredients: 4 cups orange juice, 4 cups grapefruit juice, 8 cups apple juice, ¾ cup white sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 12-24 cloves
Prep Time: 5 mins Total Time: 15 mins
Directions: Heat apple juice, sugar, and spices until sugar until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Add orange and grapefruit juice.
Ingredients: 1 (6 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate, ¾ cup pineapple juice, 2 ½ cups water, 2 orange pekoe tea bags, honey, lemon juice, cloves, cinnamon stick.
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
Directions: Boil water in pot. Add tea bags. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add remaining ingredients. Heat over medium low for 15 minutes. Discard spices and serve.
Expert Village How to Make Wassail
Ingredients: 2 quarts apple cider, 1 (6 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate, 1 quart water, 1 cup sugar, 4 cinnamon sticks, 4 allspice berries, 12 cloves, 2 TBSP chopped ginger
Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours Total Time: 2 hours
Directions: Combine sugar and water in a large pot. Bring to boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat. Add spices. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Strain to remove spices. Add thawed orange juice and lemonade concentrates, and apple cider. Bring to boil. Serve.
Ingredients: ½ cup orange juice, ¼ cup Real Lemon juice, 5 ½ cups water, 1 can cranberry jelly sauce, 1 family size (or 3 regular) tea bags, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon allspice
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 1/4 hours
Directions: Place spices in a paper coffee filter and tie off with tea bag string. Steep spice pouch and tea bag in 2 ½ cups water in a large pot for 5 minutes. Combine cranberry sauce, 1 ½ cups boiling water, and ¾ cups sugar in a large bowl. Mix with electric mixer until lumps are gone. Add orange and lemon juice and 1 ½ cup boiling water. Remove tea bag and spices from pot. Add cranberry mixture to tea in the pot. Heat all ingredients in pot, or use a crock pot.
Ingredients: 1 gallon apple cider or apple juice, 4 ½ cups pineapple juice, 4 cups orange juice, 2 (12 oz) cans apricot nectar, 1 (12 oz) can frozen lemonade, 2 sticks cinnamon, 2 teaspoons whole cloves, 1 teaspoon whole nutmeg
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time 1 ¼ hours
Directions: Make pouch of spices in cheesecloth. Add all ingredients to large Dutch oven pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer another 30 minutes. Remove spice pouch. Serve hot. Transfer to crock pot to keep warm.
Ingredients: 1 quart apple juice, 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup water, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup Red Hots candies, 2 cinnamon sticks, ½ teaspoon ground cloves
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Times: 15 minutes
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pot. Heat, stirring frequently until Red Hots are dissolved.
Wassail with Fruit
Ingredients: 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail, 3 cups pineapple juice, 4 cups apple juice, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 4 lemon slices
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
Ingredients: 1 large can apple juice, 2 ½ cups water, 1 pouch Crystal Light Raspberry Ice, 1 pouch Crystal Light Cranberry Breeze, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 orange sliced
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time 3 ¼ hours
Directions: Add apple juice, water and cinnamon sticks to crock pot. Cook on low for 2 hours. Stir in Crystal Light. Add orange slices. Cook 1 hour. Remove cinnamon and orange slices and serve.
Ingredients: 8 cups pineapple juice, 4 cups apple cider, 2 cups orange juice, 2 (16 oz) cans apricots with juice, 30 cloves, 10 cinnamon sticks (broken)
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
Directions: In a blender, process apricots and juice until smooth. Pour into large pot. Add cider and juices. Make cheesecloth pouch with spices and add to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
Ingredients: 1/2 gallon apple cider, 1/2 gallon cranberry juice, 1 cup lemon juice, 1 ¼ cups pineapple juice, 1 large orange, ¼ cup honey, ½ cup sugar, 24 cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Garnish with mint leaves and orange slices.
Directions: Combine cider, juices and thinly sliced orange in large pot. Add sugar, honey, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Add remaining spices. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm with garnish.
Ingredients: 1 gallon apple cider, 3 TBSP brown sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, ¼ teaspoon ground mace, ¼ teaspoon anise seed, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 thinly sliced orange, 1 thinly sliced lemon, 6 cored apples cut in 1 inch pieces
Directions: Add cider, apples, and cinnamon sticks to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and add remaining spices and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Simmer 20 minutes. Add orange and lemon slices. Simmer 5 more minutes. Serve in mugs with fruit.
Ingredients: 1 (12 ounce) can frozen apple juice, 3 ½ cans water, 2 sweet oranges, 1 sour orange, 1 red apple, 2 cinnamon sticks, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 1 star anise seed
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes
Directions: Pour apple juice and water in crock pot. Quarter oranges. Squeeze orange quarters into crock pot. Add squeezed orange quarters to crock pot. Quarter apples and add. Add spices to crock pot. Heat on low about 45 minutes. Reduce heat to warm setting and heat for up to 6 hours. Serve in mugs.
Wassail with Alcohol
Ingredients: 2 quarts apple cider or apple juice, 2 cups cranberry juice, ¾ cups sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon whole allspice, 1 small orange studded with cloves, 1 cup rum
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 4 ½ hours
Directions: Add all ingredients to a crock pot. Cover and heat on high 1 hour. Reduce to low and heat 4 to 8 hours.
Ingredients: 2 liters ginger ale, 25 oz sherry, 1 cup brandy, 1 cup milk, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves, 4 allspice berries, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, 8 Pink Lady apples
Directions: Bake whole apples in 350° oven until tender, about 25 minutes. Gently crush allspice and break cinnamon sticks. Place all spices in cheesecloth bag. Bring 2 cups of ginger ale and spice bag to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove spice bag. Add remaining ginger ale, sherry an brandy. Heat until hot but do not boil. Whisk in milk. Pour into punch bowl and add baked apples.
Ingredients: 2 cups pineapple juice, 2 cups orange juice, ½ cup lemon juice, ½ cup water, 6 cups dry red wine, 1 cup dry sherry, 1 cup sugar, 4 cinnamon sticks, 3 lemon slices
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes
Directions: Combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and lemon slices in large saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Strain and discard cinnamon and lemon. Pour juices, wine and sherry into a large pot and simmer for several minutes. Combine wine mixture and sugar mixture in a serving bowl. Serve hot in mugs with lemon slices.
Ingredients: 3 quarts apple cider, 1 quart cranberry juice, 2 TBSP allspice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 pint whiskey
Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 1 ¼ hours
Directions: Combine all ingredients except whiskey in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer at least 1 hour. Strain and add whiskey. Garnish with sliced oranges.
Ingredients: 1 gallon apple cider, 1/3 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon mace, 6 cloves, 6 allspice berries, 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 cups cream sherry, 1 cup brandy, 3 eggs separated, 2 cups peeled golden delicious baked apples
Prep Time: 1 hour Total Time: 2 hours
Directions: Cut baked apples into medium small pieces. In a saucepan heat cider and baked apples pieces. In another saucepan boil sugar, water and spices for 5 minutes. In a third saucepan boil cream sherry and brandy. In a mixing bowl, process 3 egg whites until firm and stiff but not dry. In a large mixing bowl mix 3 egg yolks until creamy and light in color. Fold egg whites into yokes. Add spice mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add alcohol. Then add cider mixture. Remove allspice and cloves. Serve warm.
Chef Paul Prudhomme Makes Wassail
More by this Author
My favorite food, movies, plays, concerts and festivals of Christmas and the Holidays.
Three family fruitcake recipes and "fruitcake cookies". Bonus- the best commercial fruitcake I’ve found.
Favorite fast and easy dip recipes for your nextgathering. Velveeta RoTel dip, spinach dip, guacamole, hummus, spinach and artichoke dip, ranch dip, 7-layer dip, and more.