My family didn’t do any holiday baking when I was growing up and we’ve never been much for big holiday traditions, but it just wouldn’t be Christmas without my mom’s Wassail.
Yes, Wassail. Like hot mulled cider.
Like “Here We Come A-wassailing.”
Whatever happened to the California Raisins?!
Wassail, y’all. It’s delicious and you should all make some this holiday season. My mom makes a big pot of the stuff in the days leading up to Christmas and then reheats it as necessary. And, oh, is it necessary.
You want to play a raucous multi-hour game of Dominoes? I’ll get the Wassail.
You’re going to go for a walk to see your neighbors’ insane Christmas light displays? I’ll make you a to-go cup.
Texas missed the memo that it’s Christmas and it’s blazing hot outside? Let me pour this Wassail over ice and top it with a little splash of seltzer.
We’re going a-wassailing? I don’t exactly know what that is, but I’ll bring the Wassail.
Bottom line: Wassail is appropriate for any and all holiday occasions.
My mom’s recipe comes together in just half an hour and couldn’t be easier. You literally simmer a half-gallon of apple cider with a couple cinnamon sticks and then jazz it up with some pineapple juice, the juice and zest of a lemon, some honey and nutmeg. Serve it up with a slice of lemon or another cinnamon stick and prepare for a mug of sweet, tangy holiday bliss 😍
This seasonal beverage has been a part of my Christmas memories for as long as I can remember, and I can’t imagine a holiday season without it. Make a batch in the next few days and it might become your tradition, too.
from my mom’s recipe box
makes about 3 quarts
1 medium lemon
1 half-gallon (8 cups) apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
24 ounces (3 cups) unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced, optional
cinnamon sticks, optional
Use a vegetable peeler to remove lemon zest in thick strips. Slice lemon in half and squeeze into a small bowl. Set aside zest and 3 tablespoons of the juice.
Combine apple cider and cinnamon sticks in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for five minutes. Stir in lemon zest strips and juice, pineapple juice, honey, and nutmeg. Bring back to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for five more minutes.
Strain out lemon zest and cinnamon sticks, if desired (I don’t mind them). Serve Wassail in mugs. Garnish with lemon slices or cinnamon sticks, if desired.
Wassail will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days and may be reheated on the stove or in the microwave.