There’s your average house-wassailling, where groups move from house to house singing songs, and there’s your tree-wassailing, where groups move from orchard to orchard to scare the evil spirits out and encourage a fruitful new year. In the first kind of wassailing, wassailers would be rewarded by the homeowner with a warm, spiced beverage called wassail (original, right?).
To celebrate Yule this year, I made a fantastic batch of wassail and it was enjoyed by all. It’s warm and spiced, and the bottle of red wine you put in doesn’t hurt things, either. All jokes aside, wassail is simple to make and festive to boot. It almost makes me think I wouldn’t mind singing from door to door in the cold weather if I knew someone would hand me a mug full of the stuff as a reward for my efforts. This is a simple wassail, it doesn’t involve raw eggs or tea bags or anything complicated. There are so many versions of wassail (go ahead, google it, I’ll wait), but this is my favorite. One of my favorite things about it is you can heat it in the crock pot, and when you’ve got green beans, potatoes, rolls and a prime rib roast in the oven, that’s a beautiful thing.
4 C. apple cider
4 C. cranberry juice (I like both plain cranberry juice, and cranberry-pomegranate blend)
1 bottle (750 ml) sweet red wine
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground clove
Combine all ingredients in a crock pot (you can double or halve ingredients depending on the size of your crock pot or number of wassailers being served).
If using a crock pot, set to low and heat on low for 4 hours. Stir about every 2 hours to blend in the spices completely.