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Holiday orange wassail punch

“Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand’ring
So fair to be seen.”

So begins the classic yuletide carol praising wassail, the traditional holiday drink.

Wassail is a spicy, sweet, hot mulled cider that used to be made with beer or mead, apples and seasonings. Steeped in ancient traditions, the drink was an important part of medieval winter celebrations.

Holiday orange wassail punch

The word “wassail” originated as a toast in old English, and was intended to bestow good health and good cheer upon friends and acquaintances.

Adding cranberry juice cocktail to holiday wassail drink

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During the cold winter months, beggars and orphans would sing in the snowy English streets in the hopes of receiving a cup of warm wassail or a bite to eat. Drinking this in an apple orchard is also said to have been a ritual intended to encourage good apple harvests in the years to come.

Adding a cinnamon stick to the wassail

Over time, wassailing became a fun holiday pastime for families and groups, with singers going door to door to spread good cheer among their neighbors. Through the years, this beverage has served as a symbol for good spirits, good health and goodwill to others.

Sprinkling in cinnamon

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A warm fruity holiday punch

Our updated version of wassail contains apple juice like its historic counterpart, but we have also added tangy orange and lemon juices as well as sweet-tart cranberry juice for an added flavor boost. We combine this with the traditional seasonal flavors of vanilla, cloves and cinnamon.

Adding oranges to the wassail holiday punch

If desired, you can add bourbon for an adult version of this winter warmer. And don’t forget to garnish the top of your wassail bowl with pretty orange slices!

Holiday orange wassail punch

Holiday punch

This is a soul-warming drink that is sure to bring smiles of good cheer to all who partake. Raise your glass and cheer: Wassail!

Christmas wassail

Holiday orange wassail

Yield 6 quarts


  • One 64-ounce orange juice
  • One 6-ounce apple cider
  • One 32-ounce cranberry juice cocktail
  • One 12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and undiluted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 oranges, sliced


  1. Combine orange juice, apple cider, cranberry juice cocktail and lemonade in a large stockpot.
  2. Mix in vanilla extract, cinnamon, cloves and orange slices.
  3. Cook uncovered over medium heat until heated.
  4. Serve warm in mugs.

Note:  To make an adult version with alcohol, add 3 cups bourbon, mixing it into the juices during the first step of directions.

Courses Drinks

A bowl of orange wassail punch

A bowl of orange wassail punch

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