Traditionally, the drink was made with a base of cider and topped with pieces of toast. However, modernized wassail drink recipes now have a base of ale, fruit juice, or wine and include apple and/or orange slices.
Here's a traditional carol about wassailing:
Gloucestershire Wassail 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 So here is to Cherry and to his right cheek Pray God send our master a good piece of beef And a good piece of beef that may we all see With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee And here is to Dobbin and to his right eye Pray God send our master a good Christmas pie A good Christmas pie that may we all see With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee So here is to Broad Mary and to her broad horn May God send our master a good crop of corn And a good crop of corn that may we all see With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee And here is to Fillpail and to her left ear Pray God send our master a happy New Year And a happy New Year as e'er he did see With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink to thee And here is to Colly and to her long tail Pray God send our master he never may fail A bowl of strong beer! I pray you draw near And our jolly wassail it's then you shall hear Come butler, come fill us a bowl of the best Then we hope that your soul in heaven may rest But if you do draw us a bowl of the small Then down shall go butler, bowl and all Then here's to the maid in the lily white smock Who tripped to the door and slipped back the lock Who tripped to the door and pulled back the pin For to let these jolly wassailers in.
Yule Wassail Recipe
By: Patti Wigington
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
- 1 Gallon apple cider
- 2 C. cranberry juice
- 1/2 C honey
- 1/2 C sugar
- 2 oranges
- Whole cloves
- 1 apple, peeled and diced
- 3 cinnamon sticks (or 3 Tbs. ground cinnamon)
- 1/2 C - 1 C brandy (optional)
Set your crockpot to its lower setting, and pour apple cider, cranberry juice, honey and sugar in, mixing carefully. As it heats up, stir so that the honey and sugar dissolve. Stud the oranges with the cloves, and place in the pot (they'll float). Add the diced apple. Add allspice, ginger and nutmeg to taste -- usually a couple of tablespoons of each is plenty. Finally, snap the cinnamon sticks in half and add those as well.
Cover your pot and allow to simmer 2 - 4 hours on low heat. About half an hour prior to serving, add the brandy if you choose to use it.