At your next holiday gathering, entertain with a warmed punch bowl of Spicy Wassail, recipe from The Sage Cottage Cookbook, 2nd: Celebrations, Recipes, and Herb Gardening Tips for Every Month of the Year. Author Dorry Baird Norris suggests finding an inexpensive basket with a flat bottom that fits your Crock Pot snug, cut an exacting hole on one side for the cord, plug into a nearby electrical outlet, presto you have the perfect serving vessel to keep your tasty holiday wassail warm.
Don't forget to embellish around your basket edge, as my dear and clever friends did in the photo above. Fresh winter greens, pine needles, and pinecones further entice guests to sample. My friends also suggest this "Crock Pot warming and styling technique" for soups, warm appetizers, and mulled wines. Author Dorry Baird Norris recommends a nice variation on her recipe for a more Christmasy drink, simply replace the recipe's cider with cranberry juice.
Spicy Wassail Bowl Makes 25 6-ounce servings by Author Dorry Baird Norris
1 gallon apple cider 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 1 12-ounce can undiluted frozen orange juice concentrate 1 12-ounce can undiluted frozen lemonade concentrate 1 tablespoon whole cloves 1 tablespoon allspice berries 4 cinnamon sticks (Never substitute ground cinnamon for cinnamon sticks in drinks because it does not blend in.) 1 teaspoon ground mace 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine cider, brown sugar, orange juice, and lemonade in a large pan. Tie cloves, allspice, cinnamon, mace and nutmeg in cheesecloth or muslin and add to cider. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove spice bag and serve hot.
Surrounding yourself with friends and family over the holidays is very special, especially when you share with them a cup of warmed Spicy Wassail. Please pass on the good cheer!
Please comment on what you like to serve to guests around the holidays. What are some of your holiday traditions you would like to share.