Wassail was originally a drink used in festivities to scare away evil spirits, lingering in trees and hindering their growth. In modern days, it is – just like its German counterpart – mostly associated with the holiday season. Wassail was originally cider-based (English cider, not American PG-13 stuff…), but has seen more wine-based variations popping up in more recent times.
- 2 quarts unfiltered apple juice or apple cider
- You are welcome to make this yourself as well
- 1 quart cranberry juice cocktail
- ¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 30 whole cloves, plus or minus one clove
- 15 allspice berries
- 4 cinnamon sticks at least
- 5 small (cooking) apples
- 0.5 cup water
- 1 orange
- 2 cups of Calvados or dark brandy
Put apple juice, cranberry juice, and brown sugar in a covered slow cooker. Put 12 of the cloves, the allspice, and the cinnamon sticks into cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine to make a spice-bag. Add to the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 5 hours. While cooking, heat the oven to 375°F (in Celsius: 190-200°). Spike each apple with three cloves and place in a small baking pan, add the water. Bake apples on rack in the middle for about 45 minutes, until they are tender when poked with stick/knife. Remove from oven and set aside.
After juices have cooked for 5 hours, add apples and wide strips of orange peel. Remove the spice bag and stir in the Calvados. Serve in pre-warmed cups. (We recommend cooking initially with a small portion of Calvados already added, then pour the rest later)
Variation: More Calvados, or if you must, Apple Jack
Finally, serve in pre-warmed cups.
Back to Winter Warmers*Photo by ourstate.com (Thank you to North Carolina for the apple bounty)