Light Wassail

Hot spiced apple cider with just the right amount of spices that both adults and kids will enjoy.

Wassail was a traditional Christmas toast, derived from the Anglo-Saxon words for “to your health” – “waes hael.”  On Twelfth Night (January 5), the wassail bowl was taken from home to home, as folks celebrated their last evening of merrymaking before returning to the rigors of work.

You may fortify wassail with alcohol (port, sherry, ale), but this version is non-alcoholic.  It’s a nice hot beverage alternative to hot chocolate to stay cozy in cold weather.

An option for a festive touch: Add baked apples.  Core the apples, lay in a baking dish with a little water (6 tablespoons), and roast 30 to 45 minutes (until apples are softened). Then add to the punch bowl once it’s ready!


1 gallon apple cider
2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar, to taste
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 orange, thinly sliced
6 small cored apples (optional)


Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan or pot, adjusting sugar to taste, and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve in mugs, or pour into a punch bowl and serve warm in cups.

Cooking & Recipes


Makes 10 to 12 servings.



Reader Comments

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Interesting! I hope that

Interesting! I hope that everyone had a great and safe weekend, had a merry Christmas and has a Happy New Year.

Very good,this is the best

Very good,this is the best recipe I have found for wassail.

Yes, brandy IS nice, and so

Yes, brandy IS nice, and so is rum or vodka or apple liqueurs like Calvados. I just put the bottles near the cups so folks can add, or not, as I do with punch. Funny -- I was about to deep-six an old crock pot because it didn't have a removable crock, but then I realized it could become my go-to wassail pot!

at a party, leave in crockpot

at a party, leave in crockpot on warm.

Add a little brandy for the

Add a little brandy for the grownups!