Lover of good food and sharer of good recipes. Continuing attempts to document family favorites, while focusing on healthier versions.
The basic recipe for hot spiced cider, also known as wassail or mulled cider, was originally shared by my sister (thanks, Janet!) in the 1980s. Over the years it's been improved for flavor, ease of cooking, and serving.
My niece recently asked for the recipe (thanks, Christy!), and I realized it's too good not to share with a wider audience. This beverage is perfect for Christmas, Thanksgiving, a cold winter day, or just about any time when you need a warm hug in a cup.
Salud . . . and enjoy!
Questions to Consider First
Before you make this recipe, consider the following questions:
- How much cinnamon, cloves and allspice do you like?
- How are you choosing to cook?
- How are you choosing to serve?
- How are you choosing to store, if any is left over? (Note: You should definitely plan on making leftovers. You won't be sorry.)
Cook Time and Yield
Prep time: 5 min
Slow cooker cook time: 2 hours
Stovetop cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 24 (6 oz) servings
- 2 quarts cider (preferred), or apple juice
- 2 cups cranberry raspberry juice
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, to taste
- 2 sticks cinnamon (or 1 teaspoon ground)
- 2 tablespoons whole allspice (or 1 teaspoon ground)
- 2 tablespoons whole cloves (or 1 1/2 teaspoon ground)
- 1 cup rum (optional)
- Alternate suggestions, and 30+ years of experimenting, are in (parentheses). Place spices in a cheesecloth square tied with cotton string. (Never did this myself). Add liquids to the slow cooker (preferred method) or to a stockpot. Simmer on low in a slow cooker for at least 2 hours, or on very low to medium-low, without boiling, on the stove for 1 hour. If cooking on the stove, spiced cider can be served at room temperature, but it is highly suggested to transfer to the slow cooker to keep for serving warm.
- Juices can be doubled with the same amount of spices in 2 instances; First, if a lesser spicy taste is desired. Or if leaving spices in cider.
- For a long amount of serving time, remove spice bag (if using whole spices, but really not required to remove at all if you like it fragrant and deliciously spicy) and orange slices to keep from turning cloudy. (This may have been for juice, which I never used, or cider prior to pasteurization. I have always let it keep warm in a crockpot for hours. Always.)
- Store any remaining cider in the refrigerator in a pouring or spigot container (WITH the oranges and spices) for up to a few days. (It has never, ever, lasted longer than that in my house.)
Here's an idea: Try a nice hot cup of reheated cider instead of your morning cup of coffee.
You might be surprised how this spicy morning beverage may jumpstart your day. This may be especially true if you drink low caffeinated or decaf coffee.
You may realize that you don't actually need the caffeine at all.
The advice above does not apply if you've added the optional rum to this recipe. (Unless it's the weekend . . . and you keep it down to one cup before doing anything for a few hours. Although, if you're being a happy weekend slug after a tough work week, go for that second cup. Cuz... yum.)
More About Wassail
- Wassail! | British Food: A History
Wassail! Wassail! all over the town, Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown; Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree; With the wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee. A Gloucestershire Wassail, dating to the Middle Ages.
- What is Wassailing, Anyway? | Mental Floss
If you ever see a minor out wassailing, you may want to call his or her parents.
© 2020 Beth Webster-Duerr
Beth Webster-Duerr (author) from Henrietta, New York on November 19, 2020:
Ericka is my daughter... So she has MY recipe.
Ericka Acquilano on November 19, 2020:
Made this yummy cider the last couple of years. Wouldnt be a holiday without it!