Wassail, Photo Compliments of City Tavern, PA.Another Holiday Season is upon us and with it comes a long list of traditions. From decorating the Christmas tree, holiday parties and the dreaded trip to the mall, this time of year is infused with holiday traditions. So why not add another, or better yet add one to enhance the others, with a batch of one of the world's oldest holiday drinks, Wassail.

Wassail's origins date back over a thousand years. The name stems from an Old English greeting, "was hál," meaning to “be in good health”. Over time the greeting evolved into a toast that was accompanied with a beverage which became known as Wassail. Eventually citizens in a small town located in southern England created "Wassailing" which occurred during the holiday season and consisted of parading through apple orchards while singing and drinking Wassail in order to ensure a good harvest the following year.

If you want a glass of this authentic and tasty beverage today you can head to the City Tavern in Philadelphia, PA. where Chef Walter Staib has recreated a period recipe.

Can't make it to the City Tavern or want to enjoy the cocktail at home? Check out Chef Staib's traditional recipe provided below.

Wassail Recipe:


  • 2 tbsp. grated orange rind (about 1 med. orange)
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon rind (about 1 med. lemon)
  • 1http://1b4http://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpgd7834cd36cb17272-d318e241556db478f2443eab8244ec1http://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpg.r48.cf2.rackcdn.com/eed9d9fhttp://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpg958776eddehttp://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpg84a558dfe9abbb2816843_6http://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpghttp://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpg.jpg whole cloves
  • 5 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 bottle (75http://1b4http://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpgd7834cd36cb17272-d318e241556db478f2443eab8244ec1http://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpg.r48.cf2.rackcdn.com/eed9d9fhttp://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpg958776eddehttp://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpg84a558dfe9abbb2816843_6http://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpghttp://cdna.tid.al/eed9d9f0958776edde084a558dfe9abbb2816843_600.jpg.jpg ml) red Burgundy wine
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 pinches freshly grated nutmeg


  • Place orange and lemon rinds, cloves and cinnamon sticks into a piece of cotton cheesecloth; tie up with kitchen twine to make a sachet.
  • Pour wine into large saucepan. Stir in sugar and add sachet.
  • Place saucepan over low heat; add nutmeg. Heat until the wine is very warm but do not boil (boiling will burn off the alcohol content).
  • Remove from heat and discard sachet. Pour hot wine into punch bowl to serve, if desired.

This warm and spicy beverage is a perfect compliment to a chilly night, that family gathering or to help prepare for that dreaded shopping excursion.

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