The Wassail recipe is not just a punch recipe, it's a tradition; a nice, hot, spiced apple cider tradition, with an outstanding look in the punch bowl.
Wassail with alcohol in it is Mulled Wine.
Factoid: Warm liquids warm the body and alcohol dilates the blood vessels so the warm liquid flows freely. So, Mulled Wine is literally a prescription for warming the body on a chilly day. A toddy for the body. Cheers, indeed.
1 large orange
12 cups (3 quarts) apple cider
4 cups (1 quart) apricot nectar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cinnamon sticks
Insert cloves into the orange about 1/2" apart. Bake the orange in a 350° oven. After about 30 minutes, remove the orange and puncture it in several places with a fork or an ice pick.
Place the orange in a large pot together with the apple cider, apricot nectar, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks, and cover it. Bring it to a boil and simmer over low heat for another 30 minutes.
Transfer the Wassail to a heat-proof punch bowl or crockpot. Float the orange and cinnamon sticks.
Serve in heat-proof punch cups. Makes 32 servings.
2 standard bottles hearty red wine
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup honey or 1/4 cup agave nectar (more or less to taste)
1 orange with peel, sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise, optional
1 thumb-size piece fresh ginger, sliced
10 whole cloves
Place all the ingredients in a large pot. (You can tie the orange, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in cheesecloth, if you like, or just throw it all in and strain the goodies out later.)
Slowly heat until the wine is hot but not boiling. Remove the slices and spices and serve hot.
Makes 8 to 12 mug-size servings.
For even more flavor, cool and refrigerate the mulled wine with all the flavorings in tact for up to 24 hours. Then remove the slices and spices, reheat the wine and serve.