I can so vividly remember those frigid Chicago days when I’d get home from school or ice skating at the park (or wherever energetic kids find trouble on snowy winter days), open the door and…. ohhh wow, Mom is making Wassail! The entire house would be redolent with apple cider, oranges, and spices that simmered on the stove. The most welcoming fragrance ever, especially for a kid frozen to the bone. A mug of hot Wassail is Instant Warmth from the innards out.
As an adult, Wassail is the essence of the holidays, the season of cheer. Like really. Add a shot of brandy or rum to a mug of Wassail and know joy.
Wassail is so quick and easy to prepare. You can use a pot on the stove or, as I usually prefer, a large slow cooker. Advantage of the stove stop simmer is that it will be ready to slurp in about an hour. The crock method has the advantage of letting you just drop it all in there, turn it on and forget it. It also gives you several more hours of amazing fragrance and it can be kept warm to ladle right out of the pot when entertaining.
- ½ gal apple cider
- 1 apple
- 20 – 25 whole cloves
- 4 – 6 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- Poke the whole cloves into the whole apple. (Makes them easy to retrieve later.)
- Slice the oranges and lemons, discarding the heel ends.
- Add all ingredients to a large slow cooker set to high. Give it at least 2 hours, more for deeper flavors. If you are using a pot on the stove, gently simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Use the citrus slices and cinnamon sticks for pretty garnish if you’d like or discard. Toss the apple and cloves.
- Keep the jug the cider came in to store and refrigerate. Enjoy the toddies that won’t fit immediately. 😉
Happy holidays, y’all! May the days to come find you and yours healthy, safe, and well loved. May they also usher in justice and a renewed hope for peace. Namaste.
~Pat, Buddy, Storm, The Princess Onyx