Christmas Wassail

When I was a little girl, every Christmas eve our family would go to my Great Aunt Naoma's home for a party.  The first step into her home I could smell  a ham cooking in the oven and her Christmas Wassail simmering on the stove.  The aroma of cinnamon and cloves filled her home.  Her living room sparkled with her aluminum tree that had lights on it that blinked to the beat of the Christmas music playing.

I couldn't wait for this meal.  It was the only time during the year I would drink wassail.  

I vowed as a child that I would carry on the tradition of Aunt Naoma's wassail every Christmas Eve.
For some strange reason my dad was not so fond of the hot beverage.  One Christmas Eve he said to me, "can't we go one Christmas without that crap"?  The answer was simple...NO!

My dear friends I give to you Aunt Naoma's Christmas Wassail.

You will need about a gallon of cranberry juice, one 12-oz can of frozen lemonade, one 12-oz can of frozen orange juice.  2 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 10 whole cloves and 8 allspice berries.  

If you don't have allspice berries, you can just leave them out.

In an extremely large pot (one that will hold 2 gallons) add 5 quarts of water.

Add the sugar.

Toss in the cloves, allspice berries

and cinnamon stick.

Stir to dissolve the sugar a bit.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes you can remove the spices.  If you would like a stronger spice flavor, just let them simmer with the remaining ingredients then remove when the spice is to your liking.

Add the cranberry juice.

The lemonade concentrate.

And the orange juice concentrate.  Bring the wassail to a simmer.  I don't like to let my wassail boil because
it does something funky to the pulp from the lemonade and orange juice.  Just my preference.  

That's it.  It's ready to serve.

I serve Aunt Naoma's wassail with appetizers at our Christmas Eve dinner.  There is always plenty leftover.  I have frozen the leftover wassail in small containers to pull out for the nasty winter colds and flu.  It really is warm and comforting when your body aches and chills.

Christmas Wassail

5 quarts water
1 gallon cranberry juice, or apple cider
1 12-oz can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 12-oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
2 1/2 - 3 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
8 allspice berries

In a very large pot mix water, sugar, and spices.  Simmer for 10 minutes then remove spices.  Add cranberry juice, lemonade and orange juice.  Reheat to a simmer.  Do not bring to a rapid boil.  

Makes 2 gallons plus two cups.  This recipe can easily be cut in half

I hope you warm yourself with my Aunt Naoma's Christmas Wassail.  It will soon become your families favorite smell and flavor or Christmas.


  1. Hey you! Love reading your blog.

    This reminded me so much of a danish recipe (I'm danish), for a hot christmas beverage called Gløgg. You have got to try it! It's a type of mulled wine. Only better.

    You should take a good sweet red wine, 1 liter.
    1 deciliter of brown sugar/muscovado sugar.
    5-6 cloves
    1 star anise (if it's available in the US?)
    1 cinnamon stick
    maybe some cardamom and nutmeg
    a little lemon peel, and orange peel.
    almonds and raisins, 1.5 deciliters

    You should heat up the red wine with the sugar until it's just about to boil - don't let it boil though. When it's warm, add all the spices and - this is important, a good handful of raisins and almond "pins", almonds chopped on the long side.
    Let it stay in the warm whine until the almonds just begin to get soft. Then pour, add some kind of alcohol if you like. Most likely vodka or cognac.

    You have to try it. It's the most important and amazing part of danish cristmas.

  2. Thank you Mikkel. Sounds divine...cardamom, star anise, nutmeg...YUM!

  3. This sounds divine! I've loved reading your blog - it's like sitting and talking with an old friend! I've pinned this Wassail recipe for later this year (Christmas 2012). Pinterest is where I found your Krispy Kreme Muffins recipe and THEN I found your wonderful Crusty Bread (made in the cast-iron Dutch oven)! WOW! Plan on making both today!
    Thanks so much!

    1. I'm so glad you found me. You will definitely add this recipe to your Christmas traditions.

  4. Oh, and I forgot to mention how much I LOVE your copper pot! Where did you find it?

    1. It's that a magnificent pot? They carry them at Williams-Sonoma, but they are $$$$. I actually found this at a store in Utah called DownEast Home. I bought it for about $50. I later found the lid that went to it at a warehouse sale. It was meant to be. It's huge and I love it. It's quite pretty as well.