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What’s in this Ale?

Wassail (non-alcoholic)

Post title is a Sandra Boynton joke. This is a spice apple cider, served hot.
Cook Time45 mins
cooling10 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American, English, German
Servings: 1 gallon (approximately)


  • cheesecloth optional



  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup works for a less sweet taste
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 3 chunks fresh ginger root you can buy one root and break it up


  • 16 oz orange juice concentrate 1 can
  • 8 oz lemonade concentrate 1/2 can
  • 2 quarts apple cider


Make the Syrup

  • In a large pot (more than one gallon), dissolve the sugar into the water.
  • Tie the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and ginger into a small amount of cheesecloth and place it in the water.
  • Bring the water to a boil, turn down the heat and let boil for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the syrup from heat and allow it to cool close to room temperature. It should be a golden brown color. Remove the bag of spices and squeeze it, to return some of the syrup.

Mix the Wassail

  • When the syrup has cooled, return it to medium-low heat.
  • Melt the orange juice and lemonade concentrate into the syrup, stirring.
  • Blend the cider into the mixture. Stir occasionally while you keep heating until the wassail is at your preferred temperature (comparable to coffee or hot chocolate).
  • Serve with a ladle or spare mug into mugs and share.


  • No special instructions are needed for doubling this recipe, feel free to prepare in large quantities if you're having a party.
  • Once the wassail has reached your preferred temperature, keeping the burner at the lowest setting will preserve the heat for a while. Remember to stir frequently, as well as before serving each time, because the wassail will separate.
  • I've stored a batch for up to a week without noticing a degradation in flavor, but remember this is chock full of fruit juice, and it will go bad. Ideal storage is a container you can shake before pouring (such as Tupperware or an empty milk or cider jug) because, again, it will separate.
  • Reheat on the stove at medium-low heat for best results. However, in a pinch you can pour it in a mug and microwave for 30-60 seconds at a time, stirring in between.

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