The Best Hot Homemade Wassail Recipe (2024)

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ByAnn Drake

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Fill your home with the scent of Christmas by making this homemade wassail recipe for family and friends in your slow cooker. Easy and delicious!

The Best Hot Homemade Wassail Recipe (1)

Here we come a-Wassailing
among the leaves so green.
Here we come a-wand’ring
so fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
and to you a Wassail too,
And God bless you and send
you a Happy New Year,
God send you a Happy New Year.

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What Is Wassail?

We’ve all heard this familiar Christmas carol, but have you ever wondered what exactly is a wassail or wassailing? It turns out that they are two very different things. A traditional wassail recipe is an apple cider based drink that is made spicy with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Even more flavor is added by including fresh fruit. This traditional holiday drink tastes very much like hot mulled cider.

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What Is Wassailing?

Wassailing is actually the centuries old, British custom of wandering around apple orchards singing to the trees, hoping all the while that the next harvest will be abundant, and that everyone will enjoy good health. This ritual eventually evolved into groups of people going from one home to the next, singing Christmas carols. Wassailing ceremonies typically take place on Twelfth Night (January 5th or 6th) depending on the tradition. Somewhere along the way, these small groups of people began carrying a bowl filled with wassail (the drink) to share with their neighbors.Traditionally, a wassail bowl was made from wood, and had a pedestal bottom.

Wassailing has enjoyed a revival in recent years, with families and communities bringing back the old customs as a way to connect with their cultural heritage, and celebrate the changing seasons.

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How To Make This Hot Drink

  • Add to a 4 quart slow cooker: cranberry juice, apple juice, orange juice, ginger beer, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh cranberries.
  • Stir until combined.
  • Thinly slice the orange and lemon.
  • Add orange slices and lemon slices to the slow cooker ingredients.
  • Cook on low for at least 2 hours before serving.

Helpful Tips

  • I tried to cut out as many calories from this recipe as I could. I used diet Ocean Spray cranberry juice, Trop50 orange juice, and diet ginger beer. Knowing it was a skinny 60 calories per serving made it even tastier and more enjoyable!
  • Other items that can be added/substituted: pineapple juice, lemon juice, apple slices, ground cinnamon, star anise, whole allspice berries, or any other fruit juices.
  • An added bonus to warming this delicious drink in a Crock-pot is that as it simmers, it makes your house smell wonderful.
  • If you don’t have a Crock-Pot, it works just as well to simmer the mixture on the stovetop in a large pot or stock pot, using medium-low heat.

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Even if you don’t plan to go wassailing this holiday season, I enthusiastically recommend that you whip up a pot of this hot wassail recipe anyway! It’s a delicious and spicy treat that’s the perfect drinkfor Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day. Start a new family tradition by serving this warm drink at your holiday gatherings.It also makes a wonderfulcozy drink on a cold day!

More Festive Holiday Drinks

  • Crockpot Hot Chocolate
  • Cranberry Christmas co*cktail
  • Pomegranate + Lime Spritzer

Homemade Wassail Recipe

Fill your home with the scent of Christmas by making this homemade wassail recipe for family and friends in your slow cooker. Easy and delicious!

Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe

5 from 2 votes

Servings: 6 servings

Author: Ann Drake

Prep Time 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time 2 hours hours

Total Time 2 hours hours 15 minutes minutes


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  • 4 quart slow cooker


  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 2 cups apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger beer or ginger ale
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries


  • Add to a 4 quart slow cooker: cranberry juice, apple juice, orange juice, ginger beer, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh cranberries.

  • Stir until combined.

  • Thinly slice the orange and lemon.

  • Add slices to slow cooker ingredients.

  • Cook on low for at least 2 hours before serving.


I used Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry, Tropicana Trop50, diet ginger beer, and apple juice (no sugar added.) When calculated with these ingredients, a 10 oz. serving has 60 calories.

This recipe can be doubled if a larger slow cooker is used.


Serving: 10oz. | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 407mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 268IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg

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The Best Hot Homemade Wassail Recipe (2024)


What is wassail drink made of? ›

What is Wassail? Wassail is like the tastier sister to Apple Cider. Traditional wassail was made with hard liquor, apples, brandy, and other spices. This recipe is made with cloves, apples, cinnamon, lemon, orange, ginger, and nutmeg and is a nonalcoholic wassail recipe.

Is wassail good for you? ›

Not only is this a warming, festive drink, but the medicinal herbs provide multiple health benefits. During the mulling process, the cinnamon, ginger, and clove impart a spicy aroma as well as anti-inflammatory, immune supporting properties to the wassail.

Is wassail the same as mulled wine? ›

There are very few differences between mulled cider and Wassail Punch. Both contain spices and some juice. One of the main differences is that mulled wine is often made with whole oranges. However, Wassail is traditionally made with apple juice.

What country is wassail from? ›

In the cider-producing counties in the South West of England (primarily Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire) or South East England (Kent, Sussex, Essex, and Suffolk), as well as Jersey, wassailing refers to a traditional ceremony that involves singing and drinking to the health of ...

What is in Trader Joe's wassail? ›

A sweetened blend of black currant, apple, and lemon juices, with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, and orange peel, Trader Joe's Winter Wassail is a fruit punch whose flavors and aromas evoke the holidays. You can serve it chilled, over ice with bourbon; or warmed, in a big mug, with a cinnamon stick garnish.

What are the two types of wassailing? ›

The tradition of wassailing (also spelled wasselling) falls into two distinct categories: the house-visiting wassail and the orchard-visiting wassail.

Why do people drink wassail? ›

By wassailing their crops in the winter, it was said to ensure a healthy crop in the spring. As Christianity began to spread, this ritual evolved further into singing and drinking to the health of next season's crops on Twelfth Night; the last night of the traditional Christmas season.

What is the spiritual meaning of wassailing? ›

Origin of Wassailing

The goal of this pagan tradition is to ensure a good harvest in the year to come by enticing good spirits to come to the orchard (they like the song and dance part), and to frighten away bad spirits that might wreak havoc and ruin this year's crop!

What is the Welsh tradition of wassailing? ›

In the Welsh tradition, when wassailing house to house, the group would sing Welsh language songs and indulge in a ritual known as 'pwnco' which is an exchange of rhymes with the householder.

What is a fun fact about wassail? ›

“Wassail” is the modern spelling of the old English phrase “waes hael” meaning “good health!” Shared as a salutation or toast, the proper response was “drink health!” and indeed, wassail is a drink, as well.

What's another name for wassail? ›

What is another word for wassail?
63 more rows

What happens at a wassail? ›

Cider is poured around the roots of the tree, while pots and pans are clattered to ward off any evil spirits and wake the trees from their winter slumber. The crowd will also serenade the tree with chants and traditional songs, often followed by Morris dancing.

Is wassail only for Christmas? ›

Some traditions celebrated wassail on winter solstice while others celebrated on Christmas Eve; in the 8th Century, Beowulf wrote a poem heralding wassail on the 12th Night of Christmas, January 5th. Regardless of the date celebrated, wassail traditions have at least two things in common: Singing and drinking.


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