Christmas Wassail

This is a party recipe. If you’re planning a smaller celebration, halve the yield: Use just 3 or 4 apples, 6 bottles of ale, and 1 pound of sugar (You may leave the spice amounts as they are.)


  • 6 12-ounce bottles brown ale (such as Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale or Newcastle Brown Ale), divided
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 48 cloves
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 pounds granulated sugar
  • 1/2 bottle brandy (we used apple brandy)
  • 6 Granny Smith or other green baking apples


On the stovetop over low heat, pour 2 bottles ale into a 12-quart pot. As ale begins to warm, stir in spices and apples. Increase heat to medium and add remaining ale, 2 bottles at a time, stirring as you go. Then add sugar, stirring as you pour.

Now add brandy to the hot wassail (remember, don’t let it boil) and take it immediately off the stove. (Wait until the last moment to add the brandy, to prevent spirits from burning off and evaporating.)


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