How To Make Wassail (As in: “Here We Come A Wassailing”)
If there was ever a Christmas drink that’s in desperate need of a resurgence it’s Wassail. And luckily for you wassail is an incredibly easy drink to make. If you’ve mastered simmering liquid on your stove then you already know how to make wassail. We’re going to combine apple cider, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a host of spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom to create the most delicious winter drink you’ve ever had.
Where does wassail come from?
That’s a bit of an unknown, actually. Merriam-Webster defines wassail as a verb meaning: to indulge in riotous drinking (carouse); to sing carols from house to house at Christmas; to drink to the health or thriving of. All things I can 105% get behind at Christmastime.
It’s a bit strange to think of “wassail” as a verb, but it makes TOTAL SENSE when you think through the lyrics of “Here We Come A Caroling” which was originally sung as “Here We Come A Wassailing.”
Today we might say that as: “Here we come a caroling among the leaves so green… Love and joy come to you, and a toast to your health, too.” To be honest, I’m not actually sure what the weather patterns in England were a few hundred years ago that allowed for green leaves on the trees in December, but the sentiment of wishing your friends and neighbors love, joy, and good health is really quite lovely. Even more lovely is that your friends would reward your kindness with a hot drink that you could take with you to your next stop.
I believe this is how wassail the drink was born.
Where did you learn how to make wassail, anyway?
Back to our drink: Thinking back on it, I believe that Wassail is the first recipe I ever created. I had a cup at a cafe called Aesop’s in Buckhannon, West Virginia and was instantly mesmerized. This stuff was good. It wasn’t just a mulled cider, it was citrusy, and it had the unmistakable sweetness of pineapple in it. I had to learn how to make wassail.
I immediately began searching the internet for any recipe that might come close but I came up dry. Caveat: this was back when dinosaurs were roaming the earth so the internet was in its infancy. Even in modern times, however, every online recipe for wassail is some form of cider with spices. To me, that’s mulled cider, not Wassail.
While the flavor of orange and pineapple might not be traditional they are transformative, and they are a MUST for your wassail.
What do I need to make your wassail recipe?
Wassail doesn’t really have many ingredients, and most of them you can grab off the shelf at your local supermarket. The only things that might require a bit of planning on your part are the cardamom seeds and candied ginger, but both are easy to source both online and at your local stores.
- Apple cider
- Orange juice
- Pineapple juice
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Cinnamon stick
- Cardamom seeds
- Candied ginger
- Bourbon, rum, or whiskey (optional)
Is it difficult to make wassail?
Absolutely not! Wassail is one of the easiest things you can possibly make this Holiday season. It’s a literal dump and stir and leave. The spices and the fruit juices will smell wonderful as they simmer on your stove and if you boil it down a bit too much you can always reconstitute it a bit by adding some water back in. Just don’t admit to anyone that you’ve done it. Borrowing a page from the British Royal Family’s playbook: Never apologize, never explain.
Other Holiday recipes you might be interested in:
If you’re looking for more inspiration for your Holidays you might enjoy one of these other recipes I’ve posted!
- White Chocolate Candy Cane Macarons
- My Best Aged Eggnog Recipe
- Dark Chocolate Peppermint Macarons
- Literally The Best Gingerbread Cookies You Can Make
Tag me Instagram @jamandbreadofficial (I love seeing when other people make one of my recipes!) and please consider leaving me a review below if you make my recipe for wassail. I really hope that you love it, and that you are ON BOARD with making my wassail a staple of your Holiday routine.
For even more recipe ideas you can follow me on Pinterest!
How To Make Wassail (Here We Come A Wassailing)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 (or so) minutes
- Total Time: About an hour
- Yield: 10 cups (2500 milliliters) 1x
- Category: Drinks
- Cuisine: American (via England)
wassail • WAH-sul • verb.
1 : to indulge in riotous drinking : carouse
2 : (dialectal, England) to sing carols from house to house at Christmas
3 : to drink to the health or thriving of.
If you’ve mastered simmering liquid on your stove then you already know how to make wassail. Apple cider, orange juice, pineapple juice, and a host of spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom will create the most delicious winter drink you’ve ever had.
- 6 cups apple cider (1500 milliliters)
- 3 cups orange juice (750 milliliters)
- 2 1/2 cups pineapple juice (625 milliliters)
- Solid squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 15 whole cloves
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 55 cardamom seeds (the seeds from about 20 whole pods)
- 8 pieces candied ginger
- Combine all juices in a large pot.
- Place spices in cheesecloth and add to mixture.
- Simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Keywords: Wassail, Christmas, Drinks
I found your site from The Spice House’s Instagram page. What a delicious drink. Thank you for sharing. Beth.
Thanks Beth! I’m glad you liked my Wassail recipe!! 👍🏻