The Best Hot Homemade Wassail Recipe

Fill your home with the scent of Christmas by making this homemade wassail recipe for family and friends in your slow cooker. Easy and delicious!

homemade wassail recipe crockpot with ingredients

Here we come a-Wassailing
among the leaves so green.
Here we come a-wand’ring
so fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
and to you a Wassail too,
And God bless you and send
you a Happy New Year,
God send you a Happy New Year.

homemade wassail recipe in mugs

What Is Wassail?

We’ve all heard this familiar Christmas carol, but have you ever wondered what exactly is a wassail or wassailing? It turns out that they are two very different things. A traditional wassail recipe is an apple cider based drink that is made spicy with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Even more flavor is added by including fresh fruit. This traditional holiday drink tastes very much like hot mulled cider. 

wassail recipe in copper mugs

What Is Wassailing?

Wassailing is actually the centuries old, British custom of wandering around apple orchards singing to the trees, hoping all the while that the next harvest will be abundant, and that everyone will enjoy good health. This ritual eventually evolved into groups of people going from one home to the next, singing Christmas carols. Wassailing ceremonies typically take place on Twelfth Night (January 5th or 6th) depending on the tradition. Somewhere along the way, these small groups of people began carrying a bowl filled with wassail (the drink) to share with their neighbors. Traditionally, a wassail bowl was made from wood, and had a pedestal bottom.

Wassailing has enjoyed a revival in recent years, with families and communities bringing back the old customs as a way to connect with their cultural heritage, and celebrate the changing seasons.

wassail in crockpot and copper mugs

How To Make This Hot Drink

  • Add to a 4 quart slow cooker: cranberry juice, apple juice, orange juice, ginger beer, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh cranberries.
  • Stir until combined.
  • Thinly slice the orange and lemon.
  • Add orange slices and lemon slices to the slow cooker ingredients.
  • Cook on low for at least 2 hours before serving.
wassail in mugs

Helpful Tips

  • I tried to cut out as many calories from this recipe as I could. I used diet Ocean Spray cranberry juice, Trop50 orange juice, and diet ginger beer. Knowing it was a skinny 60 calories per serving made it even tastier and more enjoyable!
  • Other items that can be added/substituted: pineapple juice, lemon juice, apple slices, ground cinnamon, star anise, whole allspice berries, or any other fruit juices. 
  • An added bonus to warming this delicious drink in a Crock-pot is that as it simmers, it makes your house smell wonderful. 
  • If you don’t have a Crock-Pot, it works just as well to simmer the mixture on the stovetop in a large pot or stock pot, using medium-low heat. 

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Even if you don’t plan to go wassailing this holiday season, I enthusiastically recommend that you whip up a pot of this hot wassail recipe anyway! It’s a delicious and spicy treat that’s the perfect drink for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day. Start a new family tradition by serving this warm drink at your holiday gatherings. It also makes a wonderful cozy drink on a cold day!

More Festive Holiday Drinks

homemake wassail in slow cooker friendsgiving idea

Homemade Wassail Recipe

Fill your home with the scent of Christmas by making this homemade wassail recipe for family and friends in your slow cooker. Easy and delicious!
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5 from 2 votes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
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Equipment

  • 4 quart slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 2 cups apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups ginger beer or ginger ale
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions

  • Add to a 4 quart slow cooker: cranberry juice, apple juice, orange juice, ginger beer, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh cranberries.
  • Stir until combined.
  • Thinly slice the orange and lemon.
  • Add slices to slow cooker ingredients.
  • Cook on low for at least 2 hours before serving.

Notes

I used Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry, Tropicana Trop50, diet ginger beer, and apple juice (no sugar added.) When calculated with these ingredients, a 10 oz. serving has 60 calories. 
This recipe can be doubled if a larger slow cooker is used.

Nutrition

Serving: 10oz. | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 407mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 268IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 1mg
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10 Comments

  1. Beverly O says:

    Thanks for sharing! I used to serve this when I hosted an open house and had lost my recipe. We have served your recipe for non-alcoholic Sangria for the past few years at Christmas because it goes so well with a breakfast menu that we enjoy for a luncheon or early dinner. This year I will have a hot drink to offer as well!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing! We have served your recipe for non-alcoholic Sangria for the past couple of years at Christmas and it goes great with our breakfast menu. Now, I also have a good recipe for a hot drink as well!

  3. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Thanks, Ann, for the Crockpot Wassail recipe! We are having a group in next Thursday and I’m going to serve this!

  4. Thank you! This recipe sounds delicious! Ladies, what alcohol would you suggest adding to this if you were looking add it? Vodka? I’d put it on the side so the heat wouldn’t boil it away.

  5. Thank you for the wonderful ideas and recipes! Can’t wait to try this Wassail recipe.

  6. I am a “guest” at my daughter or son’s home on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this sounds so good that I may make a batch so that my house will smell good and I can enjoy a cup(s) while watching holiday movies. Thank you for sharing.