Wassail

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I cobbled this recipe together from a number of sources many years ago, and have spent every Thanksgiving making it for friends. It’s always a popular winter warmer, and everyone spends the post-prandial hours sipping large mugs of wassail on the deck.

Wassail Print Me

  • 1 cup/250 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons/10 ml freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon/15 ml freshly grated ginger
  • 6 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon/2.5 ml mace
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 pounds/1 kg sugar
  • 4 × 750 ml bottles Amontillado sherry
  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 375 ml brandy
  • 6 apples, cored and baked
  1. In a covered 12-quart stockpot, bring water to a boil.
  2. Add nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves, mace and cinnamon.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add sugar and sherry and heat until the sugar dissolves completely.
  5. Beat the egg yolks and whites separately; fold together.
  6. Put egg mixture in a large bowl, and slowly add the heated mixture to the eggs, 1/4 cup at a time at first, stirring each addition to slowly heat the eggs.
  7. Once the brew has been thoroughly mixed, add the brandy and the baked apples.
  8. I keep my Wassail in a large crock pot on low heat to prevent the eggs from curdling. If you don't have a crock pot, keep it on the stove on low, but be very careful: even on low heat this mixture will get hot - quickly.

Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com

6 Replies to “Wassail”

  • Marleigh says:

    Two pounds of sugar?!? My pancreas…

    Granted, our family holiday concotion is glög (infinitely harder to stomach than wassail), but that much sugar is kind of scary.

    Did you come across recipes that use orange or lemon in your research? I’ve only had wassail once, homemade by a friend, and her family recipe used citrus.

  • The sugar sounds like an awful lot until you dump almost a gallon of liquor and a carton of eggs in there. It’s not that sweet at all, I promise.

    I’ve seen a bunch of recipes that use dried orange peel, but being young and lazy I opted for the easy way out. Perhaps this year I’ll have to try it, as I’ve almost always got a batch of orange peel drying out in the oven for orange bitters for the bar.

  • Sarah says:

    What kind of sherry?

  • Sarah

    I use an inexpensive California dry sherry that they carry at my grocery store. I believe it’s Paul Masson.

  • I made the recipe from the old Joy of Cooking over the weekend, which is pretty similar to yours. I quartered the recipe and used a mid-range madeira (Miles Medium Dry Rainwater Madeira ~$15). Delicious, but it needs to be consumed quickly. It separated in about an hour. Still tastes good, but not as light and foamy, and in the words of one attendee, “looks like baby vomit.”

  • Steve says:

    Jeffrey,

    This is perfect. I to contribute to the “libation creation” of Thanksgiving with my family every year. Recently I have been looking for a tasty hot, batched beverage and this shows promise. I am just curious what the taste is going to be like. Should I expect a Hot Toddy or an Egg Nog or something else?
    Finally, can I substitute anything in for the eggs to expand the life of the mix?

    -Steve

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