Winter Holiday Recipe: Wassail Punch

In middle school I began hosting an annual Christmas party for the girls in my class. I felt very chic, acting as the hostess and putting together a menu alongside my mother. I always requested a Bouche de Noel (my taste was very mature for a 10-year-old), in addition to assorted cookies, brownies, and hot cocoa.

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My mother always insisted on serving her wassail punch, which I didn't think was very cool, but I let it slide. As I got older, though, I began looking forward to the punch -- the smells of apple cider and cinnamon lingering through the house. Now I can't imagine Christmas without it!

In true Southern fashion, my mother's punch is just an "oh you know, a little bit of this and a little bit of that" recipe, but it didn't take long to recreate a version that reminds me of my youth. As I continue my tradition of annual holiday entertaining, you can rest assured this wassail punch always finds its way to the table (with a splash of bourbon for extra Christmas cheer).

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Wassail Punch

Serves 6

6 cups apple cider
1 cup orange juice
4 cinnamon sticks, plus additional for garnish
6-8 whole star anise, plus additional for garnish
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of allspice
Juice of one lemon
Bourbon or whiskey (optional, but highly recommended)

In a large dutch oven, bring all of the ingredients to a low boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for a few hours. Serve hot; spike with bourbon/whiskey, if desired. Garnish with whole cinnamon sticks and star anise.

Related: Good Question: Know a Great Holiday Punch?

(Images: Nealey Dozier)

Per serving, based on 6 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
345
Fat
10.1 g (15.5%)
Saturated
0.4 g (2%)
Carbs
64.8 g (21.6%)
Fiber
9.4 g (37.7%)
Sugars
29.4 g
Protein
11.2 g (22.4%)
Sodium
20.1 mg (0.8%)

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Categories

Drinks, Beverage, Christmas, Recipe

Nealey Dozier is a former wedding planner turned chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, and food writer. She is based in Atlanta. You can find more of her Southern adventures in eating and entertaining at www.dixiecaviar.com.

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