Wassail: Good Health Served Warm
Brr the cold temperatures have really hit here on the wet coast! As a result I am yearning for some wassail (pronounced wah-sail) to warm me up on cold days like these. A traditional English wintertime drink, wassail is basically a hot mulled apple cider, but made with cider, rum and spices. In addition, if you want to be very traditional it can include toast as well – yep toasted bread! For today’s “winter series” I will provide a modified recipe that doesn’t use bread though. Consequently, you get an easy to make winter warmer that really helps keep you and your guests stay warm.
Traditionally the word “wassail” is an Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘waes hael’, which surprisingly means ‘good health’. Which certainly bodes well for the amount I make every holiday season!
Local is best!
As always, Chiganic tries to use local organic products when ever we can. Likewise, I use a local apple cider whenever possible. So, here are some local ciders I enjoy using:
1.) Tod Creek Craft Ciders, 273 Prospect Lake Rd, Victoria, BC V9E 1J7
Victoria’s newest cidery, they pride themselves on being a small-batched, handcrafted cider. The canned version of this cider is made of mostly desert apples. Which is a perfect addition for this recipe!
2.) Merridale Cidery & Distillery, 1230 Merridale Rd, Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L0
Located in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver island this is BC’s oldest estate cidery. Their traditional cider is an English-style cider, which is awesome for a traditional tasting recipe.
For best results, try to use organic cranberry juice. Organic juice can really elevate a recipe, impress your guests and contribute to the healthy aspects of the recipe. I like using this cranberry juice:
- Triple Jim’s Juices, 49067 Prairie Central Road Chilliwack, BC V2P 6H3
Located in East Chilliwack, Triple Jim’s is a small family run business which uses only the finest fresh-pressed juice of firm BC fruit. What is important is that these guys cold press all of their juices in small batches to ensure the quality and freshness.
On to the recipe!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Yield: 8-10 Servings
- 8 Cups apple cider
- 4 Cups cranberry juice
- 1 Cup rum (brown spiced)
- 1 Teaspoon whole allspice
- 3 Whole cloves
- 1 Organic orange
- 3/4 Cup sugar
- 1 Teaspoon aromatic bitters
- 2 Cinnamon sticks
Take orange and stick the whole cloves into sides. Next put the orange and the rest of the ingredients into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Then set the temperature to low for 4 hours. Once finished, serve the wassail warm from the slow cooker. Finally, have the bottle of rum available for those who want a little bit more “holiday” in their cup.
My Mum’s Tip for Serving
If you are planning on using glass cups to serve any hot winter drink, my mum always placed a spoon into the glass prior to pouring the hot liquid into the glass. The spoon will absorb some of the heat from the liquid, which reduces the chance of the glass shattering due to sudden heat shock.
Enjoy your good health with a warm cup of wassail!
As usual, always drink responsibly and be sure to arrange to get home safely.