Winter Wassail

From What’s in Season?

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Winter Wassail

  • Author: Barbara Kobsar | Illustrations by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge


This spicy wassail is a great way to highlight the fresh winter citrus and apples from your farmers’ market. When we asked our friends at Wine on Piedmont for their recommendation on a spirit to spike it up with, their enthusiastic reply was Home Base Bourbon Batch 22. Click here to read about that woman-made-in Berkeley spirit and several more intriguing suggestions.


Units Scale
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 12 to 15 whole cloves
  • 8 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • Brandy, whiskey, or dark rum (optional)
  • Garnishes: fresh cranberries, orange slices, apple slices


Poke cloves into the apples on all sides. Place in a large pot with all other ingredients except the alcohol and garnishes. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes. Add a shot of alcohol to a mug (if desired) and ladle the wassail over the top. Garnish and enjoy!