Good evening! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I’m a bit behind on my holiday cocktail series this week. Photographing a drink after 5 on weekdays has proved impossible so the series may become a weekend affair.
No collection of holiday cocktails would be complete without hot spiked cider, so today I present to you: the wassail! According to Maggie Savarino in The Seasonal Cocktail Companion, “wassailing” is an Old English tradition with pagan roots that celebrates the fall harvest. I had never heard of a wassail before coming across the recipe in Maggie’s book, but apparently they are commonly served in the Northern Midwest states. It’s basically a blend of apples and spices, spiked with bourbon, with endless variation. You cannot go wrong.
- 4 cups apple cider (or unfiltered apple juice, doctored up with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
- 1/2 inch nub of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise (optional, but they’re pretty!)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, slit down the middle with the insides scooped out (or 1/4 ounce vanilla extract)
- bourbon (plan on about 1 1/2 ounces per drink. I used Jim Beam)
- In a medium saucepan, combine all of the nonalcoholic ingredients and simmer for at least thirty minutes, preferably over an hour.
- Use a jigger or shot glass to measure bourbon into mugs. Pour in your hot spiced cider. Ideas for garnishing: cinnamon sticks, star anise, lemon slices and/or thinly sliced red apple (highly recommended).
I have a little surprise today: my first giveaway ever! The fine people at Sasquatch books offered to let me share a copy of The Seasonal Cocktail Companion with a lucky winner. From infusions to new uses for botanicals, herbs, and spices, I’ve gotten some serious inspiration from the book. My only complaint is that I want more photos of the drinks, so it was fun to bring this one to life!
For a chance to win a copy of The Seasonal Cocktail Companion, leave a comment for one or both of the following:
- Tell me what your cold weather drink of choice is. Whether it’s hot chocolate or a fancy cocktail, I want to know!
- Become a fan of Cookie and Kate on facebook and leave a separate comment on this blog post telling me that you are now a fan. If you are already a fan, leave a comment to let me know!
The fine print: You have until midnight CST on Friday, December 9th, to leave your comment(s) for a chance to win. I will notify the winner by email on Saturday; the winner must reply within 7 days with a valid mailing address or I will randomly select another winner. Bon chance!
Update: Meighan, whose preferred winter drink is hot chocolate and Bailey’s, won the giveaway! Thanks to all who entered and best of luck in future giveaways!