Wassail, a warm, spiced cider drink, has a long tradition of providing holiday comfort. According to some accounts, wassail was once an Old English luxury – not many could afford the concoction of expensive spices and wine. During the holiday season, rich landowners would prepare large quantities of the drink and the poor townspeople would come “a-wassailing” for a Christmastime treat.
Other accounts describe a wassailing ceremony wherein crowds would gather around cider-producing trees, singing and drinking to the health of the trees to ensure a plentiful autumn harvest.
While wassail is typically associated with the yuletide season, I find the aromatic flavors soothing on any cold day. Of course, it’s best when shared with friends and accompanied by laughter.
1 can orange juice concentrate, thawed
½ can lemonade concentrate, thawed
3 cinnamon sticks
2 cups sugar
1 tsp ground cloves
½ gal. apple cider
4 c. water
Combine all ingredients in a large pot or crock pot until heated through. Simmer slowly for a deeper flavor.