Cider Wassail


4 cups good fresh cider
1/4 to 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons apple brandy
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of salt
1 rounded teaspoon orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped and lightly sweetened with 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, more or less
Fresh nutmeg, for garnish (optional)


Bring cider to boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in rum, brandy, apple brandy, orange liqueur, spices, and salt. Stir in orange juice concentrate. Heat over moderate heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Pour into demitasse cups or wine glasses and top with a generous dollop of sweetened whipped cream. (The whipped cream makes a big difference in the finished taste of the drink – don’t omit it.) Garnish with fresh nutmeg if desired.


Makes enough for 10 to 15 demitasse cupfuls.

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One should NEVER boil

One should NEVER boil cider!
Boiling changes it to a most unpleasant, sharp flavor. Cider should be heated with the spices until you can smell it and it starts to steam but not boil/bubble. Best way to make this drink is in a slow-cooker at low temp which will keep it hot all through your party. I make mulled wine or spiced cider this way every year for the holidays. I sometimes do spiced cider, with no alchohol added in the slow cooker so kids can drink it, then add a bit of brandy or bourban as I serve to adults who want it.