Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Holiday Spiced Wassail

"Here we go a wassailing, among the leaves so green!..."  Wassailing, like in this song, is an old English tradition similar to the Christmas caroling we do now.  Wassail, the drink, is also an old "Yuletide" tradition that dates as far back as Medival times.  Although some modern recipes call to make it with a base of wine or fruit juice and apple or orange slices, historically it basically is a mulled cider with sugar and spices.
The recipe that I came up with is a mixture of both.  It is non-alcoholic (family friendly) that starts off as a base of delicious apple cider with some tart cranberry and sweet orange juice.  Then, I add all of the Christmas-time aromas and spices like brown sugar, cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice, and a bit of nutmeg!  MmmmMmm!  I finish it off simmering away with a sliced clementine orange and a few fresh cranberries!  This adds to the flavor and makes it look beautiful!  The cranberry juice gives the drink a pretty red hue that's perfect at Christmas--I love cranberries this time of year!

This is the perfect party drink that will warm you up from the inside out!  I made it for our Cookies and Cocoa party, and it was a bigger hit than the hot cocoa!  When family and friends arrive, your house will smell like you just took an apple pie out of the oven!  Sometimes, I will just make a small pot of it for just my husband and I to enjoy while watching a Christmas movie.  It makes the night feel extra special.  I think it would be a perfect drink to come to make after an evening spent caroling the neighborhood.  Whenever you decide to make this festive drink, just be sure to keep all of those special memories close to your heart! These are the times that we cherish and will look back on with joy!

                             I just want to wish everyone a very
                        Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Holiday Spiced Wassail

In a large heavy bottom sauce pan, pour in 8 cups of apple cider (not juice here), 4 cups of Cranberry juice and 2 cups of no-pulp orange juice.  Turn the burner on medium low heat.  Add in about 3-4 heaping Tbsp. of brown sugar, 3 cinnamon sticks, 5 cloves, a couple dashes of ground allspice, and a pinch of nutmeg.  (I used fresh nutmeg this time since a good friend gave me one of her's.) Add at least 2 slices or orange and a few fresh cranberries, if you have them.  Simmer until very warm.  I like for it to be on the heat at least 30 minutes before serving, so all of the flavor marry together.  Strain the spices, before serving, if you do not put them in a cheesecloth bundle.  (I have made it both ways.) Serve in mugs and garnish with an orange slice or cinnamon stick and cranberries.

Grocery List:
Apple Cider
Cranberry Juice
Orange Juice
Brown Sugar
Cinnamon Stick or Ground Cinnamon
Whole Cloves
Ground Allspice
Nutmeg (optional)
Orange slices
Fresh Cranberries

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