I struggled to find a wassail recipe that really appealed to me, so naturally, I made one up. The resulting beverage is cider perfected. It tastes of autumn, crisp winds, and the Wolfswood. The alcohol combination manages to disappear completely into the cider (danger! danger!), although the ale gives just the slightest fizz. It starts out subtle, then builds almost instantly to a spiced cider explosion.
I’ve heard of adding tea to wassail, and look forward to experimenting with that, but in the meantime, this is a new winter staple at The Inn.
Warming: 30 minutes Serves: ~10
Cook’s Notes: The ale we used comes as part of a tasty Smuttynose 12 pack; the Star Island Single is not a popular beer in our house, so is perfect to mix into something else. If you like, you can double the level of alcohol, and not compromise the wonderful way the flavors all meld together.
Also, for an interesting varietal, try filling a tea-strainer ball with thyme, and swirl it in each mug. This produces a slightly more medicinal flavor, but in a very good way.
- 1 gallon raw apple cider (not hard)
- 1 bottle ale (clovey, spiced ales are best- we used Smuttynose Star Island Single)
- 1.5 cups dry sherry
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 shots whiskey
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp. cardamom
- 1 apple, cut into rounds
Combine all ingredients, float the apple slices in it, and warm gently, keeping below a simmer for around 30 minutes. When it’s steaming, it’s ready to serve.