You may be saying, what the heck is Wassail. Well you may remember a Christmas carol about “Here we go A Wassailing”, Wassail is a hot, mulled drink associated with the Yuletide holidays. It was traditionally drunk from a ‘wassailing bowl’. Known as the earliest form of mead; which was roasted crab apples. Later, it evolved to become a mulled cider made with sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Modern recipes begin with a base of fruit juices, wine, or mulled ale, sometimes with brandy or bourbon added. Apples or oranges are often floated on top of the mix. Great bowls turned from wood, pottery or tin and often had many handles for shared drinking and highly decorated lids were used. Antique examples can still be found in traditional pubs.
THE GROCERY LIST:
- 1 gallon fresh apple cider
- 6 ounces red wine
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 12 whole cloves
- 3 star anise
- 6 whole allspice
- 1/2 inch fresh ginger root, peeled & diced
- 3 cinnamon sticks (Get extra to garnish)
- 10-12 ounces of Top shelf Bourbon (Optional)
- cheesecloth & kitchen twine
- Garnish with fresh ground nutmeg and 1 cinnamon stick per drink
To make the wassail, wrap the cloves, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon sticks in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string. Combine the cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar, and spice bag in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Serve warm, makes 10-12 glasses.
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