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Christmas Punch That Warms the Soul: 20 Wassail Recipes

Author:

Rose Mary's mother and all of her aunts are great Southern cooks. She likes to think she's not so bad herself.

Make alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of this classic holiday beverage.

Make alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of this classic holiday beverage.

What Is Wassail?

Wassail is a traditional Christmas punch that has roots as far back as 1066, when the Normans likely introduced this warm brew to England. Some may use other names to refer to traditional warm holiday punch, such as mulled cider or mulled wine.

Most wassails have an apple juice base and spices, such as cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and cloves. Some add orange juice or other juices. My favorites tend to be the ones with pineapple juice added.

Wassail, a traditional Christmas punch.

Wassail, a traditional Christmas punch.

I spent some time on a couple of my favorite recipe sites and pulled together this collection of twenty recipes. I tried to make sure that each was sufficiently different from the others, and I divided them up into three broad categories:

3 Types of Holiday Punch Recipes

  1. Classic wassail (and a few unusual ones)
  2. Wassail with fruit
  3. Wassail with alcohol

These recipes include a variety of combinations of juices. One recipe uses apricot nectar. Other ingredients include grapefruit juice, lemonade, and tea. Some of the recipes use interesting ingredients like cranberry jelly, Red Hots candies, or black pepper! I even found a sugar-free version using Crystal Light. I have included versions with wine, sherry, brandy, and whiskey at the end.

Try traditional and non-traditional versions of this punch.

Try traditional and non-traditional versions of this punch.

1. Apple and Orange Juice Wassail

Serves 16

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 allspice berries
  • 10 cloves
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 8 cups apple juice

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 1 1/4 hours

Directions

  1. Add water and sugar to a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Add spices and cover for 60 minutes.
  4. Add juices and bring to rapid boil.
  5. Remove from heat and serve.

Original recipe from Food.com.

2. Cider, Orange Juice, and Lemon Juice Wassail

Serves 24

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 12 cloves
  • 12 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 quarts orange juice
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 cup lemon juice

Prep Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Directions

  1. Add water and sugar to a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Add spices and cover for 60 minutes or overnight.
  4. Add cider and juices and bring to a boil.
  5. Remove from heat and serve.

Original recipe from Food.com. You might also try a crystallized ginger version or a pineapple juice version.

3. Cranberry, Pineapple, and Orange Juice With Fruit Punch Wassail

Serves 32

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 7 cups water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 (6-ounce) can frozen fruit punch concentrate
  • 40 ounces pineapple juice

Directions

  1. Heat cranberry juice, water, and sugar on medium heat in a large pot.
  2. Place spices in a cheesecloth bag and tie.
  3. Add to the pot and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Remove spices.
  5. Add fruit juices and concentrates.
  6. Serve hot.

Original recipe from AllRecipes.

4. Apple, Orange, and Grapefruit Juice Wassail

Serves 16–24

Ingredients

  • 8 cups apple juice
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12–24 cloves
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 4 cups grapefruit juice

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Directions

  1. Heat apple juice, sugar, and spices until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat.
  4. Add orange and grapefruit juice.

5. Pineapple and Orange Juice and Tea Wassail

Serves 7

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 orange pekoe tea bags
  • 1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • Honey
  • Lemon juice
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon stick

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Directions

  1. Boil water in a pot.
  2. Add the tea bags.
  3. Cover and steep 10 minutes.
  4. Discard the tea bags.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients.
  6. Heat over medium-low for 15 minutes.
  7. Discard the spices and serve.

Original recipe from Food.com.

6. Cider, Orange Juice, and Lemonade Wassail

Serves 12–16

Ingredients

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 (6-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate

Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours Total Time: 2 hours

Directions

  1. Combine sugar and water in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  3. Add spices.
  4. Cover and let stand 1 hour.
  5. Strain to remove spices.
  6. Add thawed orange juice, lemonade concentrates, and apple cider.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. Serve.

7. Juice, Tea, and Cranberry Sauce Wassail

Serves 4–8

Ingredients

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1 family-size tea bag (or 3 regular tea bags)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup real lemon juice
  • 1 can cranberry jelly sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 1/4 hours

Directions

  1. Place spices in a paper coffee filter and tie off with a tea bag string.
  2. Steep the spice pouch and the tea bag in 2 1/2 cups water in a large pot for 5 minutes.
  3. Combine cranberry sauce, 1 1/2 cups boiling water, and 3/4 cups sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Mix with an electric mixer until the lumps are gone.
  5. Add orange and lemon juice and 1 1/2 cup boiling water.
  6. Remove the tea bag and spices from the pot.
  7. Add the cranberry mixture to the tea in the pot.
  8. Heat all ingredients in the pot or use a crock pot.

Original recipe from Food.com.

8. Wassail With Fruit Juice and Apricot Nectar

Serves 22

Ingredients

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole nutmeg
  • 1 gallon apple cider or apple juice
  • 4 1/2 cups pineapple juice
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans apricot nectar
  • 1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 1/4 hours

Directions

  1. Make a pouch of spices in a cheesecloth.
  2. Add all ingredients to a large Dutch oven pot.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover and simmer another 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the spice pouch. Serve hot.
  7. Transfer to a crock pot to keep warm.

Original recipe from Food.com.

9. Wassail With Fruit Juice and Red Hots

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 quart apple juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Red Hots candies
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot.
  2. Heat, stirring frequently until Red Hots are dissolved.

Original recipe from Food.com.

Try adding pineapple, apricots, and more.

Try adding pineapple, apricots, and more.

10. Apple, Pineapple, and Cranberry Juice Wassail With Lemon Slices

Serves 18

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 3 cups pineapple juice
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 lemon slices

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 15 minutes

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Original recipe from Food.com.

11. Crystal Light Wassail

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 1 large can apple juice
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 pouch Crystal Light Raspberry Ice
  • 1 pouch Crystal Light Cranberry Breeze
  • 1 orange, sliced

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 3 1/4 hours

Directions

  1. Add apple juice, water, and cinnamon sticks to a crock pot.
  2. Cook on low for 2 hours.
  3. Stir in Crystal Light.
  4. Add orange slices.
  5. Cook 1 hour.
  6. Remove cinnamon and orange slices and serve.

Original recipe from Food.com.

12. Wassail With Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Cider, and Apricots

Serves 16

Ingredients

  • 2 (16-ounce) cans apricots with juice
  • 8 cups pineapple juice
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 30 cloves
  • 10 cinnamon sticks, broken

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Directions

  1. In a blender, process apricots and juice until smooth.
  2. Pour into a large pot.
  3. Add cider and juices.
  4. Make a cheesecloth pouch with spices and add to the pot.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

13. Cranberry, Pineapple, and Lemon Juice and Cider Wassail With Orange Slices

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider
  • 1/2 gallon cranberry juice
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 large orange
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 24 cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Mint leaves and orange slices, for garnish

Directions

  1. Combine cider, juices, and a thinly-sliced orange in a large pot.
  2. Add sugar, honey, cloves, and cinnamon sticks.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to simmer.
  5. Add the remaining spices.
  6. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve warm with garnish.

Original recipe from AllRecipes.

14. Apple Cider Wassail With Sliced Apples

Serves 16

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 6 cored apples, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 thinly-sliced orange
  • 1 thinly-sliced lemon

Directions

  1. Add cider, apples, and cinnamon sticks to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Reduce heat and add the remaining spices and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar.
  3. Simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Add orange and lemon slices.
  5. Simmer 5 more minutes.
  6. Serve in mugs with fruit.

15. Apple Juice Wassail With Apples, Oranges, and Black Pepper

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-ounce) can frozen apple juice
  • 3 1/2 cans water
  • 2 sweet oranges
  • 1 sour orange
  • 1 red apple
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 star anise seed

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes

Directions

  1. Pour apple juice and water into a crock pot.
  2. Quarter the oranges.
  3. Squeeze the orange quarters into the crock pot. Add the squeezed orange quarters to the crock pot as well.
  4. Quarter the apples and add.
  5. Add spices to the crock pot.
  6. Heat on low about 45 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to warm setting and heat for up to 6 hours.
  8. Serve in mugs.

Original recipe from Food.com.

Try adding some "holiday spirit" to your wassail.

Try adding some "holiday spirit" to your wassail.

16. Apple-Cranberry Wassail With Rum

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 small orange studded with cloves
  • 1 cup rum

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 4 1/2 hours

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a crock pot.
  2. Cover and heat on high 1 hour.
  3. Reduce to low and heat 4 to 8 hours.

Original recipe from Food.com.

17. Ginger Ale Wassail With Milk, Sherry, and Brandy

Serves 25

Ingredients

  • 8 Pink Lady apples
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 liters ginger ale
  • 25 ounces sherry
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

  1. Bake whole apples in 350°F oven until tender (about 25 minutes).
  2. Gently crush the allspice and break the cinnamon sticks. Place all spices in a cheesecloth bag.
  3. Bring 2 cups of ginger ale and the spice bag to a boil in a large pot.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the spice bag.
  5. Add the remaining ginger ale, sherry, and brandy.
  6. Heat until hot, but do not boil.
  7. Whisk in the milk.
  8. Pour into a punch bowl and add baked apples.

Original recipe from AllRecipes.

18. Tavern Wassail With Fruit Juice, Red Wine, and Sherry

Serves 20

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 lemon slices
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 6 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup dry sherry

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes

Directions

  1. Combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and lemon slices in a large saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain and discard the cinnamon and lemon.
  3. Pour juices, wine, and sherry into a large pot and simmer for several minutes.
  4. Combine the wine mixture and the sugar mixture in a serving bowl.
  5. Serve hot in mugs with lemon slices.

Original recipe from Food.com.

19. Apple-Cranberry Wassail With Whiskey

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3 quarts apple cider
  • 1 quart cranberry juice
  • 2 tablespoons allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 pint whiskey
  • Orange slices, for garnish

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 1 1/4 hours

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except whiskey in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer at least 1 hour.
  3. Strain and add whiskey.
  4. Garnish with sliced oranges.

Original recipe from Food.com.

20. Apple Cider Wassail With Baked Apples, Eggs, Cream Sherry, and Brandy

Serves 25–30

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peeled and baked Golden Delicious apples
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups cream sherry
  • 1 cup brandy

Prep Time: 1 hour Total Time: 2 hours

Directions

  1. Cut the baked apples into medium-small pieces.
  2. In a saucepan, heat cider and the baked apple pieces.
  3. In another saucepan, boil sugar, water, and spices for 5 minutes.
  4. In a third saucepan, boil cream, sherry, and brandy.
  5. In a mixing bowl, process 3 egg whites until firm and stiff but not dry.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, mix 3 egg yolks until creamy and light in color.
  7. Fold the egg whites into the yolks.
  8. Add the spice mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly.
  9. Add alcohol.
  10. Then add the cider mixture.
  11. Remove allspice and cloves.
  12. Serve warm.

Original recipe from Food.com.

Love Wassail? Try Wassailfest

My favorite Christmas festival is the annual Wassailfest in New Braunfels, Texas. It is held the first Thursday of December and lasts until the wassail runs out! That’s usually about 10 p.m., but I have seen them roll up the sidewalks about 9.

The store owners in the historic downtown area serve this traditional warm punch and open their doors for browsing. Some shops have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of wassail to offer up. As you go from shop to shop sampling the punch, make notes! You get to vote for the best one.

Wassailfest 2013 at Town Square in New Braunfels, Texas.

Wassailfest 2013 at Town Square in New Braunfels, Texas.

Comments

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 07, 2014:

Thanks for visiting pstraubie & janshares. I almost overlooked your posts. It's been a while since I got multiple posts in one day on the same hub.

I try to go to Wassailfest every year in December. Most are made with apple juice or orange juice. Occasionally I come across one made with pineapple juice, which is usually my favorite.

(pstraubie thanks for the nice sentiment.)

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 07, 2014:

Thanks vocalcoach! Just went to Wassailfest again last week in New Braunfels TX. Reminds me of wine festivals in Germany. Also gluhwein.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on December 07, 2014:

You have gone beyond the call in bring us this collection of Christmas Punch. In addition to this, I now know the meaning of Wassail. :) Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting and will share. Thanks.

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on December 07, 2014:

I just had my annual taste of wassail yesterday at the Christmas bazaar I chair at my church. We have the standard flavor with apple cider and spices. It was soooooo good. This is an informative recipe hub. I had no idea there we so many kinds of wassail. Thanks for the recipes. Voted up and useful.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 07, 2014:

Okay, now so I want to rush out and get everything so I can try all of these. This is such a favorite at this time of the year.

Thanks for sharing....pinning and sharing

Voted up ++++

Angels are on the way to you ps

Kimberly Vaughn from Midwest on November 18, 2012:

I have heard of Wassail before but I never knew what it was. I will have to try this at Christmas!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on December 16, 2010:

Thanks for visiting and commenting Quince & prayers.

prayers on December 10, 2010:

Wassail is delicious! Thanks for the recipes!

QuinceInvitations on December 10, 2010:

I am following your recipes and I am doing good now.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 23, 2010:

Thanks Perl. Please let me know if you try one, and how it turned out.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 23, 2010:

Pamela, one of the shops at Wassailfest always makes a chocolate wassail! How's that for different? I did some searching, but could not find a recipe.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 23, 2010:

erthfrend we bought some apple cider recently that was a bit dissapointing. It was pretty bland. We're thinking about spicing it up, adding some pineapple juice, maybe some pumpkin spice tea, and a few other things, and having it Thanksgiving.

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 23, 2010:

SJerZGirl you're right about the German influence. New Braunfels also has a hugely popular Wurstfest each year.

I went to lots of wine festivals in Germany, like the Bernkastel winefest all 3 years I was there. But I don't recall any Christmas festivals!

rmcrayne (author) from San Antonio Texas on November 23, 2010:

Zsuzsy Bee I'm doing okay. Thanks for asking. I've gone back to work part-time, which has really cut into my hubbing. Hope you have been well.

Esther Shamsunder from Bangalore,India on November 21, 2010:

Rose Mary, I enjoyed this hub, and hope to try one of them for this Christmas. Thanks very much for sharing! I voted you up! And awesome too!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 21, 2010:

Many of these recipes are new to me as I had no idea there was so many types. They sound wonderful. I may make some this year as I think the family would enjoy it. Thanks for sharing so many recipes.

erthfrend from Florida on November 21, 2010:

THESE SOUND SOOOO GOOD! Thank you so much for sharing these yummy sounding recipes! What a perfect treat for Christmas! Great hub!

SJerZGirl on November 21, 2010:

I guess because Braunfels is a town settled by Germans helps this be popular. The Christimas Festivals in Germany offer hot spiced wine every day they're open (usually almost a month from our Thanksgiving until Christmas - when they celebrate a holiday, they don't fool around). It smells wonderful along with all the other foods being cooked out in the open booths set up just for the Weinnachtmarkt. Personally, I didn't care much for it, but since I don't know what was in it, someone else's might appeal to me. But, the fragrance was so enticing!

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on November 21, 2010:

Some of these recipes are new to me so I'm really exited to try them out.

Thanks for sharing, voted up and useful with the holidays just around the corner

hope you're well

regards Zsuzsy