- Food: Wassail Cocktail
- Writer: Nicolas Wilson
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Hello and good evening! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. This week, I’m a little behind on my Christmas cocktail series.
Because photographing a drink after 5 p.m. on weekdays has proven unfeasible, the project may have to be relegated to the weekends.
Without hot spiked cider, no collection of Christmas cocktails would be complete, so now I bring to you: the wassail!
“Wassailing” is an Old English tradition with pagan roots that celebrates the fall harvest, according to Maggie Savarino in The Seasonal Cocktail Companion.
I’d never heard of a wassail until I came across the recipe in Maggie’s book, but they’re reportedly popular in the Northern Midwest. It’s just a mix of apples and spices laced with bourbon that may be made in a variety of ways.
The sweetness of your wassail will be determined by the apple cider you choose, which is usually quite sweet. Try my mulled wine or hot toddy for a toasty but not overly sweet Christmas drink.
|Time to Prepare: 10 minutes
30 minutes to prepare
40-minute total time.
Wassail cocktails are made with actual apple cider, ginger, lemon, spices, and, of course, bourbon. Wassails are a great way to warm up on a cold day! Depending on how much warm cider mixture you use for each drink, this recipe makes 4 to 6 drinks.
- 4 cups apple cider (or unfiltered apple juice, doctored up with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)
- ½ inch nub of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-star anise (optional, but they’re pretty!)
- ½ vanilla bean split down the middle with the insides scooped out (or ¼ ounce vanilla extract)
- Bourbon (plan on about 1 ½ ounces per drink. I used Jim Beam)
- Combine all of the nonalcoholic components in a medium pot and cook for at least thirty minutes, preferably over an hour.
- Pour bourbon into mugs using a jigger or shot glass. Fill the glass halfway with hot spiced cider. Cinnamon sticks, star anise, lemon slices, and/or thinly sliced red apples are all good garnishing ideas (highly recommended).
- TURN IT AROUND: Brown ale or actual cranberry juice can be used in place of some of the cider. Other whole spices, such as cloves, allspice berries, and/or white peppercorns, can be included as well. In a crock pot, you can keep a large batch of cider warm.