Any fan of Christmas carols knows the song “Here We Come A-Caroling”, but did you know the song originally had very different lyrics? Back in the mid 19th century, the song was called “Here We Come A-Wassailing”. Wassailing, much like caroling, involved people going door to door singing. However, there was one distinct difference: they would sing in the hopes or earning a penny, a meat pie, or if they were lucky, a warm cup of wassail.
What exactly is wassail, though? The word itself means “be you in good health” and is also used as a toast to celebrate a good cider harvest. That also helps explain what a cup of wassail is: a warm, somewhat alcoholic mulled cider. Classically, this dish is also served in a wooden cup or bowl and with slices of toast. Keep reading below for our favorite wassail recipe…
Holiday Wassail Recipe
(makes about 18 servings)
- 2 quarts apple cider
- 1 quart cranberry juice
- 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 27 whole cloves
- 15 allspice berries
- 4 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 5 McIntosh apples cored
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 medium orange
- 2 cups brandy or sherry
- Combine apple juice, cranbery juice, and brown sugar in a slow cooker.
- Place 12 cloves, the allspice berries, and cinnamon sticks in a piece of cheesecloth, and tie closed with kitchen twine to make a pouch. Add to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375%. Stud each apple with3 of the remaining cloves and place in an 8″x8″ baking pan. Add the water to the bottom to the baking pan.
- Bake until the apples are a little tender when pierced with a knife (about 45 minutes). Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Once the slow cooker has been cooking the mixture for 4 to 5 hours, add the apples.
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the orange in wide strips, avoiding the white of the inside of the peel, and add the zest to the slow cooker.
- Remove the spide bag and stir i nthe alcohol.
- Serve hot, and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Chow