An Easy Wassail Recipe for Your Holiday Party


Wassail is a cheery holiday punch that can really be tailored to suit your mood, or refrigerator contents.

This is our basic and adaptable recipe. Wassail is traditionally served warm, but we think it’s just as good at room temperature or even chilled with a pretty ice wreath in the center of your punch bowl. It can be made with or without alcohol, and while the recipe includes brandy, we’ve also tried a bit of cognac and ginger beer with excellent results. Let your holiday punch be just as easy going, sweet and fun as your party.

We recommend wassail for a Christmas caroling theme party, as in here we come-a-wassailing! For more ideas, read: Holiday entertaining: Three theme parties for the merry and bright. 




  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 navel oranges, sliced thick
  • Whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons allspice
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 cinnamon sticks (or 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon)
  • 1 cup brandy (optional)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries


  1. Set your slow cooker to low and pour in apple cider, cranberry juice, maple syrup and sugar, mixing carefully. As it heats up, stir so that the sugar dissolves. Stud the rind of each orange slice with 1 or 2 cloves and place in the cooker. Add allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.
  2. Cover and allow to simmer 2 to 4 hours on low heat. About half an hour prior to serving, add the brandy and cranberries. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with warmed cranberries.



About Author

Megan McCaffrey is a food writer for The Journal News and contributor to the Small Bites Blog. She has a degree in Digital Media from Fordham University and a fondness for good craft beer. She loves to bake, read cooking blogs and taste all the Lower Hudson Valley has to offer. Megan lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut with her husband and three kids.

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