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Cranberry wassail in a mug with cinnamon stick and cranberries
4.67 from 9 votes

Spiced Cranberry Wassail

A mixture of cranberry, orange, and lemon juice steeped with cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and ginger. 

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword cranberry wassail, hot spiced cranberry drink, spiced cranberry orange drink
Prep Time 10 minutes
steep 20 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 210 kcal
Author Janet Barton



  • 64 ounces cranberry juice bottled
  • 4 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 - 1 cup cane sugar

Spice sachet

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 6 allspice berries optional
  • zest from 1/2 orange
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • slice of fresh or candied ginger


  1. Combine juices in a nonreactive pot and stir in 1/2 cup sugar.  Taste the mixture to determine if more sweetener is needed and adjust according to your taste.  Heat just until steam begins to rise from the mixture.  

  2. Combine the spices, zest, and ginger in a piece of cheesecloth.   Gather the edges and tie them together so the spices can't fall out. 

  3. Drop sachet bag into steaming cranberry juice mixture.  Press the sachet down into the juices.  Continue to heat wassail without boiling for 5-7 minutes.  DO NOT BOIL.  Cover pot with a lid and allow to steep for 20 minutes.  Remove lid and sachet.  Serve.

  4. Wassail can be made in advance and refrigerated.  Reheat and serve.  Can be made at least 1 week in advance. 

Recipe Notes

  • I used bottled cranberry juice.  Unsweetened can be used.  Sugar amount will need to be adjusted according to taste.
  • Some oranges are sweeter than others, which will change the tartness of the wassail.
  • I only used fresh orange juice, but bottled can be used.  This would decrease the amount of sugar.
  • Simmer in a stainless steel or enamel covered pot.  Aluminum, cast iron, or copper can give the wassail a metallic taste.
  • Fresh pressed apple juice can be used which will add more sweetness, but the color won't be as vibrant.  It will still be delicious.
  • Whole spices work best.  I don't recommend using ground spices.
  • Wassail is so soothing when sick.  I love drinking this when I have a cold.
  • DO NOT BOIL.  Boiling the wassail kind of makes the citrus pulp curdle.  It doesn't look so pretty.  
Nutrition Facts
Spiced Cranberry Wassail
Amount Per Serving (8 ounces)
Calories 210
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 5mg0%
Potassium 430mg12%
Carbohydrates 53g18%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 50g56%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 350IU7%
Vitamin C 86mg104%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.