Gousset/Glidden Family Favorite Wassail Recipe

One Of Our Family Favorite Traditions & Recipes... Wassail!

Before we get into the recipe...

What, exactly, is Wassail? Take a look:

Wassail is a deeply rooted tradition in the Midwest and a popular regional staple throughout the cold-weather season. Every winter as the holidays approach, many Wisconsinites still take part in the age-old “wassailing of apple trees,” a ritual dating back to the fifteenth century that involves sprinkling wassail on apple trees to ensure a strong, healthy harvest and to keep the trees safe from evil spirits. Wassail always blends apples and winter holiday spices, but the sweeteners and spirits often change from recipe to recipe. 

Now that you know what Wassail is...

Let's get to the recipe...


48 ounces apple cider
16 ounces cranberry juice
¼ C sugar
1 t aromatic bitters
8 ounces rum
3, 6 inch cinnamon sticks broken
16 whole cloves (plus more for oranges)
1 t whole allspice
3 whole oranges, studded with cloves
Cheesecloth bag (or make one with a square of cut cheesecloth)


Combine the first 4 ingredients in sauce pan. Break cinnamon sticks into pieces, add the cinnamon pieces, cloves and allspice to the cheesecloth bag. Stud oranges with cloves and slice. Add spices and oranges to saucepan. Simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove spices, stir in rum. Do NOT boil. Pour into warm serving bowl and garnish with studded oranges. Makes 9 – 8 ounce servings. 

From Brenda: Our family usually triples this for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day because family members can help themselves and there are always 20 or more adults. When tripling this, we don’t triple the oranges and only 1 ½ on the spices. Enjoy!