When the weather turns cold, one of the first drinks I whip up is wassail. (No, not pumpkin spice latte.)  Never tried a wassail recipe? I can help, because I make batches of it each winter. In fact, this-cider based hot drink has come to be the flavor and scent of our winter holiday gatherings, from Thanksgiving right through Christmas and into New Year’s.

I’m so happy to share this particular recipe with you, which was handed down to my mom then perfected over the years.

This particular recipe is made using several different juices and spices, as opposed to a traditional wassail, which is more about cider and citrus. (The original recipe also contains eggs! No thanks.)

After much refinement this wassail is, without a doubt, the best wassail recipe ever. You’ll see.

Related: Our favorite alcoholic apple cider drinks to usher in fall


The Best Wassail Recipe

Best wassail recipe, passed down to my mom then refined over the years: by Kate Etue of Cool Mom Eats

My tip is to make a big batch of wassail, then let it simmer all day until ready to serve.

An easy storage tip for the leftovers: Once it cools off, pour the wassail back into your original apple cider or orange juice containers and pop into the fridge.

You can of course simmer it again in a saucepan to heat, but what’s even easier is that we pour individual servings into mugs, then heat each in the microwave for about a minute. That means it’s ready to drink seconds after we’re craving some. Which is just about every night.


Yields about 24 servings

1/2 gallon apple cider
1 large can pineapple juice (about 8 cups)
2 cups orange juice
2 cups apricot nectar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp allspice
optional whiskey
optional cinnamon sticks for garnish

Pour all juices together into a large pot or crockpot. Add spices and stir over low heat, then reduce to simmer. (Alternately, you can simmer it all day. Your house will smell festive and delicious.)

Serve warm. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if you’re feeling fancy. Add in optional whiskey to taste, for the adults. Don’t forget to toast!

You can store leftovers in the fridge for about a week. But it won’t last that long.


Photos Ellie Nelie, Heather Barnes via Unsplash