You might be familiar with wassailing songs, but have you ever tried the drink?
Every year, my family goes to our friend Gayle’s house for Christmas Eve and enjoy traditional wassail, a hot, spiced punch. Gayle and her husband, Walt, mix and heat the steamy drink to perfection and we all enjoy it as we chat and eat hors d’Å“uvres before the big feast. But this year I’m not making it home for Christmas, and I’m thinking of trying to mix up the concoction myself. I asked Gayle if she’d be willing to share her secret recipe with me, and I’m letting you all in on it!
Gayle and Walt’s Traditional Wassail
- 2 bottles Madeira or Sherry/Marsala
- 2 quarts dark ale
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1 bottle cognac
- Sugar to taste (usually up to 1 cup)
- 6 cloves
- 6 allspice
- 4 cardamon seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Mix everything in a pot, and heat on medium-low. Do not boil the mixture.
- Pour the cognac into a small pitcher and set it to the side so each person can choose the amount they want. (If you pour the cognac into the heated mixture on the burner, the alcohol evaporates.)
- If desired, add some triple sec to taste, or bake or roast some small apples to decorate the top, and serve it in a silver bowl.