I know. I know. It’s the second recipe post of all time in over five years at What She Saw. (Interested in the first? My mom made killer orange cupcakes a few years ago.)
My roommate and I hosted friends on Saturday for a Christmas party. We made it potluck style but decided to offer a few snacks of our own plus the drinks. Naturally, we had to have traditionally Christmas drinks, so besides egg nog, I decided we had to have wassail.
Now I should probably tell you that despite a Bachelor of Arts in English, I pronounced wassail incorrectly for the span of a week and a half up until Mandy corrected it upon her arrival at my apartment Saturday night. She also kindly recorded this moment for all time and posterity on Twitter.
How not to say wassail: wah-SAY-ul
How to say wassail: WAH-suhl
There you have it.
And here you have the recipe for twelve servings:
2 quarts apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice*
4 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
a pinch of ground ginger
a pinch of ground nutmeg
*The original recipe calls for a half cup but since reviews said this made it taste too tart and I wasn’t trying to make anyone wah-SAY-ul their way out the door, I scaled it back to a quarter cup.
Pour the apple cider, orange juice, and lemon juice into the crockpot.* Sprinkle the pinches of nutmeg and ginger and add the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Let simmer for eight or more hours. Serve hot.
My roommate’s crockpot has an eight-hour cook setting so I just set it to that. A few hours before we were set to serve it, I hiked it up to the six-hour cook setting because it wasn’t actually simmering (and to be honest I don’t think it ever did). But it was good and hot when I served it up after about eight and a half hours in the crockpot and we actually had to wait about ten minutes before we could sip it gingerly without risk of burning our tongues off. I also stirred every 60-90 minutes; the recipe doesn’t call for that, but I thought it might help everything mix a little better.
*If you don’t have a crockpot, you can obviously use a regular pot and simmer it on top of the stove. The disadvantage I imagine that would have is you’re stuck inside all day because you can’t leave the stove unattended.
I had never made this before and only had wassail of any kind once (thank you, Biltmore!), so it was an experiment of mildly terrifying proportions (particularly since I avoid the kitchen as much as possible). But it was delicious. Everyone had a mugful and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Since I’m trying to write a little more about finance on the blog, I totaled up the cost of ingredients so you have an idea of what this might cost you if you want to make it at home. It will obviously be significantly cheaper if you already have a stocked spice rack; since I didn’t, I paid for all of this out-of-pocket and specifically to make wassail. Please note I purchased all the ingredients at Meijer and prices may vary depending upon where you purchase your own groceries.
half gallon of apple cider: $2.99
two bottles of orange juice: $2.58
one bottle of lemon juice: $3.69
container of cinnamon sticks: $5.79
container of whole cloves: $4.99
container of ground ginger: $3.49
container of ground nutmeg: $2.99
If you’re not interested in making wassail at home, but still want to try some, the Biltmore sells Wassail Spice Mix online (which is what I tried when I was there in July) or you can buy 16oz. cans of Stephen’s Gourmet Wassail on Amazon.