Wassail




Last year, we spent the thanksgiving holiday time with my boyfriend's sister T. and her family. She has 4 little girls and it was a wonderful holiday time with lots of fun and nice food. We made this great warm holiday punch, it is called "Wassail" and basically is a mix of fruit and citrus juices and mulling spices. We followed the recipe and used a mix of orange, apple, lemon and cranberry juice with emphasize on the cranberry juice, so that we had a very reddish looking drink (see picture on top). 

This year, I couldn't wait to re-create the drink. I found this cranberry-apple juice mix that I used and the drink turned out more yellow. 

The ancient English word "Wassail" has two meanings: it can refer to the hot mulled punch, but it can also refer to a salute on someone's health, "waes hail" (literally: be you healthy). Originally, the drink was a mulled cider drink and the verb "wassailing" referred to a ceremony of drinking and singing to the health of the apple trees in hope to scare away evil spirits and ensure a good harvest. 

There are lots of variations for this drink. Mix juices you like, you can also add tea or even stronger beverages such as cider, wine, brandy, or rum. 

Ingredients

  • 1 can concentrated frozen orange juice (+ 4 cans of water)
  • 1 can concentrated frozen cranberry - apple juice (+ 4 cans of water)
  • 1 cup of fresh pressed lemon juice
  • 3 lemon slices
  • 3 orange slices
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 anis stars
  • 10 gloves
  • 1 cup cider mate mix (orange peel, dried berries, gloves, ginger, anis star pieces)

Preparation

It is up to you what kind of juices you use. A mix of orange, apple and cranberry juice works really good. The more cranberry juice, the redder the drink gets, what can be fun for the Halloween time. It works good with frozen juices that you can always have ready in your freezer. You can also add tea to the juice mix such as rose hip tea, raspberry tea or peach tea. 

This year, I used only two cans of frozen juice: orange and a cranberry-apple juice mix. Combine the orange and cranberry-apple juice mix in a small pot or slow cooker, add water to the juice concentrate and stir till the concentrate is dissolved. Add the lemon juice, the orange and lemon slices and the spices. I always put the spices directly in the juice and use a strainer in the end. Some folks like to put the spices in a cheesecloth, so that they can just take them out in the end. It's not as messy but it requires to have a cheesecloth. Heat the punch and let it cook on medium for at least 30 minutes for the spices to unfold. In my experiences, the juices are already sweet enough, but if you like it sweeter, use honey or sugar. Serve warm and use a small strainer to pour into a cup. 








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