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This traditional English drink is the perfect combination of fruit and spice! Wassail mixes up in a snap and is the perfect holiday crowd-pleaser!

Food is always the highlight of the holidays, but what about the drinks? Christmas punch, pomegranate lemonade, and cranberry apple crush are the best recipes to accompany your dinner with. They’re so refreshing and delicious!

Homemade wassail in a punch bowl garnished with apples, oranges, cranberries, and spice.

Amazing Homemade Wassail Recipe

If you’re looking for a holiday drink recipe that is perfectly sweet and warms your soul, this is it! I love wassail. It’s like the love child of punch and mulled cider. It starts with an apple cider base and then I add in orange and pineapple juice for that perfect fruity zest! Pair these flavors with nutmeg, anise, and cinnamon and you have a winning drink! It’s SOO GOOD! Be sure to make a lot of this because your guests will be coming back for more and more!

And if you’re asking yourself, what exactly is wassail? It’s an old English word originating from ‘waes-hael’ which translates to “to your health.” Historically, people would make a variety of spiced cider to share and enjoy with friends to celebrate the harvest. Fast forward a thousand years and we’re still enjoying this delicious drink today! Make a pot of this at your next holiday party to spread the cheer! It’s so incredibly flavorful and refreshing, you won’t regret it! And if you’re looking for more tasty holiday drinks, try out my homemade eggnog and gingerbread cider!

What Do I Need to Make Wassail?

No fancy ingredients are needed here. Let your spice rack do the heavy lifting! Who knew that a few spices and a blend of fruit juices could create such a hearty, flavorful drink! You’re going to love having it to sip on. Looking for measurements? They can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post!

  • Apple Cider: Apple juice can be used as well, but I prefer using cider for a more complex flavor. Not to mention, its smooth, thick consistency tastes great as a warm drink!
  • Orange Juice: Citrus helps to balance out the flavors in the drink.
  • Pineapple Juice: I like adding pineapple juice for extra fruity flavor!
  • Whole Cloves: Cloves add a warm, sweet spice to your wassail.
  • Cinnamon Sticks: No holiday recipe is complete without a little cinnamon!
  • Star Anise: Anise has a sweet, licorice-y flavor that tastes amazing combined with the other flavors in this drink.
  • Nutmeg: For tasty, nutty warmth!
  • Cranberries: Not only are they beautiful and festive, but cranberries also help to infuse tart flavor into your wassail.
  • Sliced Orange and Apple: Adding some sliced orange and apple pieces is the cherry on top! It adds to the presentation and gives your drink more flavor.

Let’s Make a Christmas Juice!

This holiday drink is the easiest thing to throw together! You can impress your guests with minimal effort. Just make sure you have plenty of time to simmer so the flavors can infuse!

  1. Mix Juice: To begin, in a large pot over medium-low heat, add the apple cider, orange juice, and pineapple juice.
  2. Add in Spices and Garnish: Next, add in the cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, nutmeg, cranberries, orange and apple slices.
  3. Simmer and Serve: Let simmer for an hour or all day. Serve hot.
Process shots of preparing drink.

Tips and Tricks for Making Christmas Wassail

You’re going to love this traditional holiday drink! Here are a few of my favorite tips on making it even better. It’s so good, you may even want it year-round!

  • Using High Quality Juices: For best results, use apple cider, orange, and pineapple juice that is not from concentrate! The fresher these juices are, the better your wassail will be!
  • Adding Froth: One way to up the coziness of this drink is by adding a sweet egg froth! I know it may sound weird, but imagine eggnog-level creaminess. To do this, separate egg whites and yolks. Beat your egg whites until you reach stiff peaks. In another bowl, beat your egg yolks until frothy and bubbly, then blend together with egg white mixture. Add very slowly to your wassail, mixing constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling. If done properly, you’ll be left with a creamy, tempered froth on the top of your drink that tastes AMAZING!
  • Make it Boozy: Looking to add a little more cheer? You can make a boozy version of this drink by adding brandy, rum, or hard cider to your wassail. Just make sure you’re not cooking it on too high of heat to keep the alcohol from burning off.
A cup of wassail garnished with cranberries and spice.

Storing Leftover Cider

Since the longer wassail infuses, the better it tastes, it’s perfect for leftovers! It will become more flavorful as it rests in your fridge!

  • In the Refrigerator: Store leftover wassail in a pitcher for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: When ready to serve, reheat wassail over the stove on medium heat until simmering.
Wassail in a glass cup with a cinnamon stick and apple slices.

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5 from 2 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
This traditional English drink is the perfect combination of fruit and spice! Wassail mixes up in a snap and is the perfect holiday crowd-pleaser!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 people



  • In a large pot over medium-low heat add the apple cider, orange juice, and pineapple juice.
  • Add in the cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, nutmeg, cranberries, orange, and apple slices.
  • Let simmer for an hour or all day. Serve hot.



Calories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 12mgPotassium: 482mgFiber: 3gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 190IUVitamin C: 47mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Beverage
Cuisine: English
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made this for my work party. Followed the recipe exactly and simmered in the crockpot. The whole office demanded a copy of the recipe!!! It’s absolutely perfect!!

  2. This was one of my FAVORITE Family Christmas Transitions when I was growing up! Sadley my Nanna’s ‘Secret’ recipe has been lost. She used other interesting ingredients like Crabapples, Pomegranates, Brown Sugar, Ginger Root, Allspice… not to mention generous amounts of ‘Hooch’! Brandy, Sherry, even Drambuie! Can you suggest amounts of these other ingredients?