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 spiced apple drink. Try making wassail to warm your body and soul!

Wassail was traditionally enjoyed on Twelfth Night to mark the end of Christmas festivities and, in ancient Celtic tradition, the end of the 12-day winter solstice celebration.

Old-fashioned wassail contains roasted apples, which swell up and burst apart in the hot punch… we promise it is worth the extra effort.

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
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the apples into thick slices, and arrange them 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.)
  2. combine the beer, spices, lemon zest, and remaining sugar while the apples bake in a large saucepan. Heat slowly, bringing it just to a simmer (Don’t let the mixture boil). 
  3. When it is hot, add the sherry and keep heating until the mixture reaches a simmer again, still not boiling. 
  4. Place the hot baked apples in a punch bowl, and pour the hot wassail over them. 
  5. Serve hot.


About The Author

Jennifer Keating

Jennifer is the Associate Digital Editor at The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She is an active equestrian and spends much of her free time at the barn. When she’s not riding, she loves caring for her collection of house plants, baking, and playing in her gardens. Read More from Jennifer Keating

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