I love Christmas time and growing up I always heard my parent’s talk about the drink Wassail. Katie thought I was a crazy person when I mentioned making Wassail for the first time as she has never heard of this holiday drink. I thought I would explain Wassail for those who are not familiar thanks to my trusty friend, Wikipedia. My Mother who is an English teacher would be so ashamed.
Wassail traditionally drank as an integral part of wassailing, a Medieval Southern English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year. The name comes from the salute ‘Waes Hail’, first used as a simple greeting. The earliest recipe of wassail was made with warm mead or ale but has branched further to be made with mulled hard cider.
I decided to go the most traditional recipe by using a New Castle English Brown ale. At first when I saw the recipe on Beeriety I was a little worried from the warm beer, but I was very surprised by the combination of the spices with the English Ale.
The recipe called to put all the spices and beer into a crock pot on medium heat or a pot on the stove top till the temperature reached around 130 degrees, but didn’t specify how long it would take. I found around 2 hours on low in a crock-pot is a good time.
One tip I highly recommend is to put all the spices into a coffee filter and tie it off with kitchen twine to make a spice bag for easy clean up once the liquid reaches 130 degrees.
For the apples, I baked them prior to cooking the wassail, to try and save some time but I highly recommend baking the apples while the wassail is cooking for 2 hours. Prior to adding the apples, I would also slice them into wedges so they can be distributed evenly with each glass.
Before the Holiday, Katie and I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays!
This is not gluten free! If you would like to make Wassail gluten free we recommend Green’s Beer. You can also try any of your favorite Cider’s that pair well with the spices in Wassail.