Recipe: Slow Cooker Wassail Punch

updated Jan 29, 2020
Slow-cook apple cider, orange juice, mulling spices, and spicy ginger together into a warming winter wassail punch.


Makesabout 10 cups

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Ever wonder what wassailing means? It’s the medieval precursor to modern-day caroling, where the singers are offered a drink from the wassail bowl after they carol. Wassail itself is a hot mulled cider punch. Our version simmers apple cider and orange juice together with traditional mulling spices, fresh fruit, honey, and slices of spicy fresh ginger for a sangria-like twist on regular mulled apple cider. Spiking it with bourbon or whiskey is up to you, but this drink is worth pulling out the slow cooker for whether you’re expecting carolers or holiday guests.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

This modern wassail contains plenty of fresh winter fruit to sweet and tart flavors to the cider and juice. Add in a little pouch of whole cloves, allspice, and ginger; throw in a few cinnamon sticks; and let the slow cooker transform the juice into a hot punch that’s warming on a frigid day. The best part is that the whole house is enveloped with its enticing scent. Since the spiking is optional, even little ones can sip away on this winter treat.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Slow Cooker Wassail Punch

Slow-cook apple cider, orange juice, mulling spices, and spicy ginger together into a warming winter wassail punch.

Makesabout 10 cups


Nutritional Info


For the wassail:

  • 4

    (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh ginger, smashed

  • 12

    whole cloves

  • 6

    whole allspice berries

  • 1/2 gallon

    (8 cups) apple cider or unfiltered apple juice

  • 2 cups

    freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1/3 cup


  • 1

    medium navel orange, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

  • 1

    medium tart apple, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

  • 1

    medium lemon, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

  • 4

    (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

For serving: (optional)

  • Bourbon, brandy, or aged rum

  • Cinnamon sticks


  1. Place the ginger, cloves, and allspice in a double layer of cheesecloth and tie together with kitchen string to form a pouch. Place in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover and heat on the LOW setting until simmering and the flavors meld, about 3 hours. Keep on the warm setting for up to 3 hours.

  2. Serve as is, or place 1 cup wassail in a mug and add 1 to 1 1/2 ounces liquor if desired. Garnish with cinnamon sticks if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Strain out the fruit and spices and store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat.