Monday, December 12, 2011

Here We Come a Wassailing

Sorry for the gap in blog posts – we've had some big things happening in the Stevens/Sherry family..  My sister got engaged to her boyfriend.  Then we had Thanksgiving.  And now it’s on to the holidays, which includes Christmas, plus my five year anniversary and my parents 40th anniversary!  Amidst attempting to plan for everything, the little bloggy got set aside.  Anyway, Aaron and I finally set up our tree and did most of our holiday shopping, so now I have a wee bit of time to blog.

Have you ever had wassail?  It surprises me how many people have never had it!  Wassail is a hot beverage (according to Wikipedia, it is English in origin), made with cider and citrus juices and spices.  My grandmother always had a big pot of it on the stove whenever we went up to Oregon to visit for the holidays.  It tastes like Christmas!  I was never a big eggnog fan, so this was my Christmas drink of choice.  And, bonus, it’s great if you feel like you are coming down with a holiday cold – it has so much vitamin C in it that it will knock that cold right out of you!

Yesterday, I made wassail while we set up the tree and watched “Love Actually” in the background.  Here is my grandmother’s recipe:

  • 1 Gallon Boiling Water
  • 6 Lemons – Juice and rind
  • 6 Oranges – Juice and rind
  • 2 to 3 cups sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons Lipton’s tea
  • Fresh mint.
  • Stick cinnamon, whole cloves, ginger, allspice, whole nutmeg
  • Cheesecloth
  • 1 quart apple cider.

Put sugar in boiling water. Add fruit juice and a few rinds. Add Tea last.
Remove from fire. Let stand 15 minutes. Strain.

Add handful of fresh mint. Make spice bag out of cheesecloth. Put in stick cinnamon, whole cloves, ginger, allspice; whole nutmegs are optional.

Add quart apple cider. Reheat and simmer until spiced to your taste – 20-25 minutes. Remove spice.

Float citrus slices on top.

Serve Piping Hot!

I couldn’t find any cheesecloth at the store, so I just put the cinnamon sticks straight in the pot and then used my tea strainer to contain the cloves and other spices.  I have no idea how many servings this makes.  We had 4 people at our house last night, and everyone had multiple mugs of wassail, and we still have over half a pot left.  It also makes a great breakfast beverage as an alternative to coffee, if you are looking to limit caffeine intake!

For those who are interested, here is the accounting:


1 gallon boiling water

6 Lemons

6 Oranges

2-3 cups sugar

2 tbsp tea

fresh mint


1 quart apple cider


~20 servings
per cup