I saw this lady, Alice Ross, talking about Wassail on the food network the other day and have been intrigued ever since. I didn't quite catch the base of the drink she made though, was it ale? I do remember there were breadcrumbs. Here's a link to an article of hers I found: artichttp://www.journalofantiques.com/Dec02/heart...
Here's what we ended up with:
2 qt. cider
1 pt. cranberry juice
3/4 c. sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp. whole allspice
1 c. rum
Stud orange with whole cloves. Put all ingredients into crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and then on low for 4-8 hours. Serve warm from crock pot. Makes 12 cups. A good hot drink for the holidays.
This was very easy to make and had good reviews - we did add an extra half cup of rum before serving.
Some more reactions:
I bottled the leftover. (I have slightly over half left)
I reheated it and added a bottle of dry white wine. People loved it! Big hit!
The keys were:
-Using dry sherry or dry madeira (two of my bottles might have been madeira that was sweet)
-Letting it sit on low (without boiling it) on the stovetop for a couple of hours with the apples floating in it
-If it comes out to sweet, cut it with dry white wine or even vodka.
Knowing how to make it now, I'm already getting requests to make it again.
A. Very strong
B. Too sweet for me (could be because I used two bottles dry sherry and two bottles madeira, and I tried the madeira before making it and it was sweeter than the Sherry)
C. It needs to sit on low heat for a couple hours with the apples sitting in it. This makes it taste a ton better
D. I ended up shaking some 50/50 with vodka over ice and it came out really tasty (a very nice Christmas cocktail)
E. It was a bit of an aquired taste for my guests and I had a lot leftover (which I bottled for future use. It was more popular at the end of the evening after it sat for a while and got tastier.