Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Carne Diem
Method: Stovetop or Crock PotJump to Recipe
This holiday wassail recipe with red wine has become an annual tradition around the holidays at our home. There is nothing like cuddling up under a blanket or next to a warm fire with a glass or 2 of this mulled apple cider. Of course, the red wine in this spiked wassail helps too!
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What is Holiday Wassail?
"Here we come a wassailing among the leaves so green...." What is wassail? That is the question we get when we serve up a cup of this delicious and warm cup of cheer to family and friends in the winter. To put it simply, wassail is a type of warm, mulled cider. Traditionally it played a major part in English Twelfth Night celebrations. These celebrations involved blessing the fields, remembering the twelve apostles, and a lot of singing and drinking.
Here we come a-Wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering,
So fairly to be seen.
Here we come a wandering
So fairly to be seen.
Love and joy come to you
And to you a Wassail too
God bless you and send you,
A Happy New Year
God send you a Happy New Year.
When you look up the word wassail in the dictionary it gives several definitions. As a noun it is described as, "1: An early English toast to someone's health. 2: A hot drink that is made with wine, beer, or cider, spices, sugar, and is traditionally served in a large bowl especially at Christmas time. 3: riotous drinking : REVELRY. As a verb, wassailing is to 1: Indulge in wassail: CAROUSE 2: To sing carols from house to house at Christmas. 3: To drink to the health."
We like this word and the drink and everything it means. When you mix all the fall and wintery flavors together, warm them for an hour or more and your home starts to smell like apples and spices, it makes your heart (and belly) warm and you might just start wandering the neighborhood singing carols...especially when you add some wine to your warm cup of cheer!
Making the Red Wine Wassail
Traditionally wassail recipes can be made with or without alcohol. Our favorite version is a wassail with alcohol, in this case red wine. Of course, if you want a non-alcoholic wassail recipe just omit the red wine.
This Holiday Wassail is fairly simple to make, it just involves mixing a few ingredients and keeping it warm. You can easily make this Red Wine Wassail recipe in a crock pot or slow cooker, or even in a Dutch oven on the stove. This is a hot wassail recipe, though it is also ok to enjoy this spiked wassail cold as well.
To make this easy wassail recipe you will need apple cider, unsweetened tea, cranberry juice, orange juice, warming spices and, of course, red wine.
Pour the cranberry juice, unsweet tea, apple cider, orange juice, and fresh squeezed lemon juice into a crockpot. Add the sugar, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves and stir it until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the crockpot to low for at least 30 minutes, or better yet, a couple of hours and then enjoy the smells and tastes once it has warmed through.
What type of wine should I use in Wassail?
As with any time that you are cooking with wine, use a wine that you would normal enjoy drinking on its own. Pick your favorite red wine to use in the wassail. Our favorites are Malbec due to its spice and herb undertones, or Syrah with its fruit and peppery clove undertones.
When adding the red wine, you may choose to add the wine to your glass when you are ready for your wassail with alcohol, that was you still leave the rest of the wassail as non-alcoholic for those underage or that do not want an alcoholic version of wassail. Conversely you can add in about 1 bottle or red wine to the holiday wassail in the slow cooker or crock pot.
You can keep the crockpot on low or keep warm for the rest of the day. Refrigerate the leftovers and warm up individual servings or even drink it cold as our son likes it (the non-alcoholic version).
Looking for more holiday drink ideas, give our Fall Bourbon Blitz or Cran-Merry Vodka Martini a try. This drink is also perfect alongside holiday staples like Smoked Ham, Prime Rib, Turkey, and or course stuffing. Don't forget to finish off the meal with some Smoked Bourbon Maple Pecan Pie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wassail is named after the and Old Norse greeting translating to good health or be fortunate.
Malbec and Syrah are good choices for making Wassail, but use your favorite red wine variety.
Here is to hoping your Holiday season is full of cheer (and maybe a little revelry)! Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. If you tried and enjoyed our recipe, please share with others and please leave us a comment and review. We also love to see your pics so don’t forget to tag us @Carne_Diem_Culinary or #CarneDiemBlog. To be notified of future recipes please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, or sign up for our e-mail notifications. Until next time, Carne Diem! Merry Christmas and have a prosperous and healthy New Year!
Wassail with Red Wine
- Crock Pot or Dutch Oven
- 1 Quart Unsweetened Ice Tea
- 1 Quart Apple Cider
- 1 Quart Cranberry Juice
- 1 Cup Orange Juice
- ½ Cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 3 Cinnamon Sticks
- 5 Whole Cloves
- 1 bottle Red Wine
- Mix all of the ingredients in a crock pot, or on the stove in a dutch oven, and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.
- Serve warm.
- Optionally mix in equal parts of red wine in your glass when serving.