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Aunt Essie’s Holiday Wassail

Renée G.


My Great Aunt Essie was quite the rebel, as the tea-totaling members of the family tell it. But, she loved to cook and entertain. When I was 12, she began allowing me to have just half a cup of this special brew she made each and every Christmas. I thought she was the most glamorous lady I’d ever seen. This is delicious, tummy warming and just like sipping a warm apple pie.

NOTE: Prep time does not include time to bake the apples.


★★★★★ 1 vote

A party
10 Min
Stove Top


  • ·
    1 gallon apple cider
  • ·
    2 cups baked apples, peeled
  • ·
    ¾ cup water
  • ·
    1 cup brown sugar
  • ·
    1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ·
    ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ·
    ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ·
    6 whole cloves
  • ·
    6 allspice berries
  • ·
    3 - 5 cinnamon sticks
  • ·
    2 cups cream sherry
  • ·
    1 cup brandy

How to Make Aunt Essie’s Holiday Wassail


  1. Pour apple cider and 2 cups baked, peeled, and cut up apples into large sauce pot; bring to boil, then reduce to low simmer.
  2. In another saucepan, boil for 5 minutes: water, brown sugar, nutmeg, ginger, mace, cloves, allspice berries and cinnamon sticks.
  3. In another saucepan, heat cream sherry and brandy just until you see tiny bubbles beginning to form.
  4. Pour everything into the large pot with cider and apples. Set on back burner and keep hot – right below a simmer.
  5. Right before serving try to remove allspice berries, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Warn guests that there “might” be one or two left you couldn’t find, so don’t choke on them.
  6. This wassail can be made then left to cool if making ahead of time; then, just reheat and enjoy.
  7. Serve warm.

    It's okay to reheat the next day if it's not all served on day one.

Printable Recipe Card

About Aunt Essie’s Holiday Wassail

Course/Dish: Hot Drinks
Main Ingredient: Fruit
Regional Style: Southern

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