Another arctic front is moving through this week and I have just the drink to help you warm up, wassail. What's a wassail, you ask? Wassail dates back to the 1400's and is an Old English tradition.
Wassail comes from "waes Hael" and means to "be well" or to "be healthy". At the beginning of the year, the lord of a manor would yell out "waes Hael", a crowd would soon gather and reply with "drinc Hael" which means "drink and be healthy". As years went by, people carried on this tradition by going to the neighboring homes around Christmas time, with well wishes and carrying with them a hot, spiced ale drink which came to be known as wassail. The tradition of going around to neighboring homes and wishing well became known as wassailing.
Wassailing is also performed in the Fall in the hopes that it would scare away evil spirits in the apple trees and make for a better apple harvest in the following year.
January 17th or around this time is the traditional date for wassailing.
The original Old English recipe for wassail has eggs and cream listed as ingredients but the recipes differ depending on what part of the country you are from.
The main ingredients of wassail includes a blend of spices such as ginger, cloves, and cinnamon mixed with apple cider or apple juice and simmered for a few hours so the flavors can blend together nicely. Other juices like cranberry and orange juice can also be added along with orange, lemon, or lime slices.
You can drink this like it is or make it a little more festive and add your favorite bourbon, brandy, wine, or rum to it.
The result is a robust, spiced juice drink that warms you up from the inside out.
I hope you find this drink as flavorful as I do and make it your favorite during these cold, winter months.
3 cups cranberry juice
3 cups Apple cider
1 cup orange juice
3 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 Tablespoon whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 to 1/2 cup honey, sweeten to your taste
1 lemon, seeded and sliced
1 orange, seeded and sliced
1 lime, seeded and sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries
your favorite bourbon, brandy, wine, or rum *(optional)
Add all ingredients into a crockpot and cook on Low setting for 4-6 hours.
Strain fruit and spices if desired.
If serving with alcohol, pour in your favorite bourbon, brandy, wine, or rum into the cup before serving.
Garnish with cinnamon stick, cranberries, and/or orange slice.
Meant to be served hot.
- I served this wassail with my old time favorite, Southern Comfort, and the result was delicious!
- Can refrigerate leftovers and warm up before serving.
Recipe inspired by ~ The Sassy Slow Cooker
History of Wassailing obtained from: The History of Wassailing and Mumming
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Shared with: Sweet and Savoury Sundays #95, Savoring Saturdays