The tradition of wassailing — caroling and drinking — began in the 1500s in southern England. Since its inception, the Wassail Bowl has been filled with some version of spiked cider. The recipe that is served seasonally at W. A. Frost in St. Paul has been on the menu continuously since they opened in 1975. I mean, why not?
1 gallon apple cider
1 tbsp ground cloves
½ tbsp ground allspice
1 ¾ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 cups dark rum
1/3 cup triple sec (or Cointreau)
1 cup brandy
Pour the apple cider with spices into a saucepot. Bring to boil and remove from heat. Immediately add the brandy, rum and triple sec. Refrigerate for storage, then heat to serve in a coffee mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange slice.
It yields about five quarts. Adjust portions equally.
The flavors approach perfection — sweet, savory, slightly spicy and warm. The beauty of a wassail bowl is that all of the work can be done ahead of time, stored for a few days, and then reheated just before guests arrive. Consider serving a big batch of this the next time you actually want to enjoy your own holiday party.
W.A. Frost Online
Click here to learn more about W.A. Frost, which is located at 374 Selby Avenue in St. Paul.
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