Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wassail, wassail.


Egad! Did someone pick up my house and move it to the Frozen Tundra? It was 25° this morning in Dallas! Since I was home anyway listening to Christmas music and working (theoretically) on my Christmas cards, I decided to make some wassail.

My mom gave me this recipe many years ago. If I'm making it for a crowd, I use my large silver percolator, but when it's just for my family, I make it in my Dutch oven on the stovetop.



Tie together in cheese cloth:
6 sticks cinnamon
16 whole cloves

1 t allspice
¼ c sugar
2 c. cranberry juice cocktail
1 large can frozen apple juice concentrate, diluted (plus an addition can of water)
1 t bitters* (optional)

Simmer 10 minutes then remove spice bag. Serve hot. If made in a 30-cup electric percolator, place spices in basket (use same amount of spices and multiply recipe by four).


*I have absolutely no idea what the bitters add to this recipe, but I always use them. I think this bottle has lasted me 20 years!


My favorite kitchen reference, the Food Lover's Companion, has this to say about bitters: "Made from the distillation of aromatic herbs, barks, roots and plants, bitters are a liquid used to flavor cocktails, aperitifs or foods. They are also used as a digestive aid and appetite stimulant. Bitters generally have a high alcohol content and are bitter or bittersweet to the taste. Angostura bitters, called for by name in many recipes, is simply the trade name for a brand of bitters." I think perhaps bitters is similar to vanilla extract, in that it tastes terrible by itself but lends a nice flavor when added to other ingredients.

I write all of my favorite Christmas recipes in this book. It's quite handy to have them all together in one place




Scarlett said...

Sounds yummy! And, yes, it definitely felt like a frozen tundra today in Fort Worth, as well!!! :)

JMW said...

Mmm, sounds perfect for a cold winter day! Perhaps I'll try that this weekend. It was 21 degrees when I woke up this morning and it's only getting up to 28 today. That's far too cold for Kentucky in December!

JoAnn said...

I love wassail and think I will try your recipe, which sounds so much less complex than the one I have made in the past, which has a zillion ingredients including wine and ginger ale (!). I make it in a soup pot and let it simmer all afternoon - it makes the house smell so good!

Melissa said...

Oh my, that sounds so lovely on a cold day.

In Idaho, our high temps is 14 degrees today.


tami said...

The recipe looks good. And I love the idea of a Christmas recipe binder.

I use bitters for sugar cubes to place in a glass of champagne for a champagne cocktail.

This is what we say about bitters at our place. "My! We have been married a long time, we are on our second bottle of bitters, of course not as long as Mr. & Mrs. soandso, they are on their third bottle of bitters!"

Bitters are a marriage measurement tool in the Northwest ;)

bevysblog said...

Love your Holiday Binder... great idea!

Never had wassail, but have grown up with Spode Christmas china. I love it and always find comfort every Christmas when my mother and grandmother bring it out. Ahhh, traditions.

The Hayden Family said...

that post made my mouth water! and i can only imagine how delicious your home smelled while making the wassail! what a terrific way to warm up! thanks for the recipe-i jotted it down and can't wait to use it!

3 Peanuts said...

Sound yummy. i could use some right now. Hey hop in your car and come on down for the party. You can park in my driveway;)

Jenny said...

Sounds really yummy!