What is a wassail and how will it make your holiday party even better?


Wassailing is an ancient custom that is rarely done today. The word ‘wassail’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘waes hael’, which means ‘good health’. Originally, the wassail was a drink made of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar. This recipe, courtesy of Karla Santi, leaves out the eggs and curdled cream but doesn’t leave behind any of traditional tastes and smells that make this drink the perfect addition to your holiday gathering. It may even make you want to go “a wassailing”.

Wassail Recipe (Mulled Wine)

Servings: 12


  • 2 bottles fruity red wine (750ml-bottles)
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 2 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups frozen pitted cherries
  • 1 large orange, sliced thin into rounds
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches), sliced
  • 8-10 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-3 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon cloves

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: Place all ingredients in a large saucepot over high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the temperature, and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Cover and allow the mixture to steep until ready to serve.

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker. Cover and turn on high for at least 3 hours, or on low for at least 5 hours. 

Ladle the hot mulled wine into glasses or mugs. Garnish with the fruit and cinnamon sticks.

Enjoy with family and friends, and just maybe get in the mood for some caroling!

Karla Santi’s wassail punch cooking

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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