Traditional Hot Wassail Drink Recipe

It’s that time of year again when the leaves start to change color, and the weather starts to cool down. So it’s finally time for hot wassail! This traditional drink is perfect for fall and only takes six simple ingredients.

Wassail is a type of mulled cider or wine, and it’s ideal for a holiday party or family gathering. Today, I’ll show you how to make it step-by-step in this blog post. So gather your ingredients and get ready to warm up with a delicious cup of wassail!

The cool season is coming, and I am HERE FOR IT!

I love all things pumpkin spice, cozy fires, and, best of all – hot wassail! This delicious drink is perfect for fall and winter gatherings, and it’s always a hit with my friends and family.

Bonus- it only requires six simple ingredients!

What is Wassail?

Wassail is a type of spiced cider or wine punch that originated in medieval England. The word “wassail” comes from the Old Norse language, meaning “be in good health.”

Wassail was traditionally made with apples, sugar, spices, and ale or wine. It was often given as a Christmas gift, and people would go door-to-door wassailing, which is where the carol “Here We Come A-Wassailing” comes from.

These days, a hot wassail drink is typically made with apple cider, orange juice, water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves. You can also add in other spices like nutmeg or allspice.

It’s super easy to make, and you can adjust the sweetness to your taste!

Ingredients needed

To make this hot wassail recipe, you will need the following ingredients…

  • Apple juice: You can use fresh apple juice or store-bought. If you use store-bought, ensure it’s 100% juice with no added sugar. You’ll need a good 2 quarts for this recipe.
  • Orange juice: Both fresh and store-bought juice work, but I would get the kind with zero pulp. We want to keep this drink as smooth as possible. If you use store-bought, ensure it’s 100% juice with no added sugar. 1 cup is plenty!
  • Water: Just plain old water, no need to get fancy here. You’ll need 2 cups to add to the base of the wassail.
  • Sugar: To sweeten things up, we’ll be using sugar. You can use white sugar, brown sugar, or even honey. I prefer to use white sugar, but it’s really up to you. You’ll need 1/4 cup of sugar.
  • Cinnamon sticks: These add a nice flavor and aroma to the wassail. 3 cinnamon sticks are perfect!
  • Whole cloves: Cloves are another key ingredient. They add a spicy kick that takes this drink to the next level. 1 tablespoon is all you need.
Wassail ingredients

Kitchen equipment needed

Here are a few things you’ll need to make the best cup of hot wassail:

  • Large pot
  • Strainer
  • Cooking spoon
  • Ladle
  • Mugs
  • 1/4 cup, 1 cup, and a tablespoon

What to serve with hot Christmas wassail

While wassail is delicious on its own, there are a few things that go great with it. First, you can’t go wrong with a piece of apple cinnamon pizza or a slice of homemade carrot cake.

A moist pumpkin chocolate chip muffin + a cup of hot piping wassail? YUM!

You can also serve wassail with a side of holiday cookies or a festive fruit salad. A few chewy snickerdoodle cookies, perhaps?

For an extra special treat, top your wassail with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

how to make wassail


Whenever I share this hot wassail recipe, I get some of the same questions. Here are the most popular ones that people ask!

If you have a question that isn’t listed here, please leave them in the comments, and I’ll answer them as soon as I possibly can.

How long does wassail last? 

Typically, wassail lasts about 3-4 days in the fridge. After that, the flavors start to change, and it doesn’t taste as good. So if you want it to last longer, you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

Can I make hot wassail without alcohol? 

Yes, you can! This recipe is for a non-alcoholic drink, but if you’d like to add some, you can use 1-2 cups of red wine or hard apple cider. If you go this route, I would recommend cutting back on the sugar since those liquids are already sweet.

Can I make this drink ahead of time? 

Yes, you can make wassail ahead of time! In fact, I think it tastes even better when it’s been made a day or two in advance.

Follow the recipe up until the point where you need to strain it. Then, let it cool completely and store it in the fridge.

When you’re ready to serve it, heat it up on the stove and strain it again.

More grandma-approved recipes to try

If you enjoyed this recipe for a traditional wassail drink, take a look at some of these other delicious recipes:

If you decide to try this recipe, let me know. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!

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Hot Wassail Recipe

Hot Wassail

It's that time of year again when the leaves start to change color, and the weather starts to cool down. So it's finally time for hot wassail! This traditional drink is perfect for fall and only takes six simple ingredients. 
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: English
Keyword: Christmas, holiday
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Laura



  • 2 quarts apple juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cloves


  • Boil water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves in a large pot for 10 minutes until the oil from the spices have been boiled into the water.
  • Strain out spices and discard.
  • Add apple juice and orange juice to spiced water mixture.
  • Stir and keep over low heat until it's warm.
  • Ladle into mugs and enjoy!

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