Recipe for Traditional Wassail | Almanac.com

Traditional Wassail

Photo Credit
Sam Jones/Quinn Brein
Serves 8 to 12.
Preparation Method
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For centuries, going back to Anglo-Saxon times, holiday revelers have wished each other “Wes hal!” (“Be whole!”) while sharing this drink. It was traditionally enjoyed on Twelfth Night (January 5 or 6), but can certainly be used to warm the body throughout the holiday season. Wassail traditionally contained roasted apples, which would swell up and burst apart in the hot punch.

Looking for a non-alcoholic version? Try our light wassail!

5 to 6 large baking apples, peeled and cored
1 cup sugar
2 quarts beer or ale
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half, or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
1-1/2 cups sherry or sweet red wine

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the apples into thick slices, and arrange in layers in a covered casserole dish, sprinkling a few teaspoons of sugar over each layer. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. (The apples will get puffy and soft.)

While the apples bake, combine the beer, spices, lemon zest, and remaining sugar in a large saucepan. Heat slowly, bringing just to a simmer. (Don’t let the mixture boil.) When it is hot, add the sherry and keep heating until the mixture reaches a simmer again, still not boiling. Place the hot baked apples in a punch bowl, and pour the hot wassail over them. Serve hot.

Wondering which kind of apples to use? Check out our Best Apples for Baking page to learn more!