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Catholic Recipe: Wassail


  • 6 cups ale
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 4 roasted apples, sliced


Serves: 6

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:15+

Origin: England


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This old English Christmas drink usually consisted of ale, roasted apples, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. It was served in a large bowl and drunk while hot. The name most probably comes from the ancient Saxon greeting: Was haile ("Your health!"). From this drink the English derived the word "wassailing" for any kind of Christmas revels that were accompanied by drinking. The mild wassail was gradually supplanted, during the last century, by a punch made up of stronger alcoholic beverages, and the "punch bowl" is now a popular feature of Christmas feasting in many homes, both in England and America.


Pour ale in deep saucepan and heat. Add sugar and spices; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Gradually add small amount of hot mixture to beaten eggs, stirring constantly. Return to saucepan, and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Place apples in large heat-proof punch bowl. Pour hot ale over apples. Yield, 6 servings

Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965