Weeknight Wassail

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Cocktail History

The Weeknight Wassail is an apple brandy and sherry cocktail that was created by the editors of PUNCH and included in their book Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails. A term that evolved over hundreds of years from an Old Norse phrase meaning “to good health,” the wassail is now known as a mulled cider punch that is served hot usually around the holidays. This weeknight version is named as such because it’s both easy to make and low proof enough to be an acceptable drink for a school night.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Apple Brandy: This is one of the base spirits. It adds a hint of brandy spice and fruitiness. We used Calvados because it’s one of the highest quality apple brandies on the market and features notes of not only apple but also pear, apricot, and baking spices.

Oloroso Sherry: This is the other base spirit. The recipe calls for an Oloroso sherry because it lends a pleasant nuttiness to the drink, but if you can’t find one of those, you can also substitute it for an Amontillado sherry.

Apple Cider: This is a freshly pressed juice that gives the drink its sweetened apple and spice flavor. We prefer to use freshly-pressed apple cider available from a local orchard and not the bottled stuff because those tend to taste too sour no matter what brand you get.

Brown Sugar: This is a sugar that sweetens the drink. We used generic brown sugar from our local grocery store.

Whole Cloves: These are aromatic flower buds that are used as a spice. We buy them in bulk section at our local grocery store.

Allspice Berry: This is a dried unripe berry that is used as a spice. We buy them in bulk section at our local grocery store.

Ginger: The is a root that is used as a spice. It adds fresh ginger flavor.

Cinnamon Sticks: This is a spice. It is used to add cinnamon flavor while heating the wassail and is also used as one of the garnishes. It adds cinnamon aroma and flavor.

Apple Slice: This is the other garnish. It adds fresh apple aroma and flavor. We used a honeycrisp apple from our local grocery store.

Tasting Notes

The Weeknight Wassail features aromas of apple and cinnamon with a sharp and spicy warming taste that is mostly apple-forward with a hint of ginger, mulling spices, and a bit of effervescent spirituousness, and it goes down with an aftertaste that leaves sherry’s medium-dry flavor to linger in the throat with the spices.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We both really liked this wassail, even though we overdid the ginger. And we’ll definitely be pulling out this recipe on a chilly evening with friends when we all have to turn in early.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“This fairly-low-ABV drink was perfect on the cold day we tried it. Combining apple flavors with the Oloroso sherry’s medium-dry taste made for a delightfully apple-forward sip, while the mulling spices added a wintery kick and the sherry came back again for a signature aftertaste. Since the original recipe was for a large batch and we pared it down for a single drink, some of the spices (namely ginger) ended up being a bit overwhelming. For this reason, we recommend inviting your closest friends over and sharing a large pot of this weeknight-approved drink next to the fireplace.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“I don’t usually go for hot beverages when given the choice, but this one is now on my list of batch cocktails that would be great for gatherings with friends! Like Alex said, we tried to pare this one down to two servings, which ended up making the taste quite a bit more spiced than it likely would’ve been if we made ten. It was still delicious, just a little heavy on the ginger burn, in my opinion. The sherry does a great job of muting the apple just enough to make it a unique take on an apple cider. Definitely worth a try in the fall or wintertime get-together!”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Winter Drinks: 70 Essential Cold-Weather Cocktails by the editors of PUNCH.

AuthorWinter DrinksPrep Time10 minsRating

Ingredients
 1 ⅔ oz Apple Brandy
 1 ⅔ oz Oloroso Sherry
 3 ¼ oz Apple Cider
 ¼ oz Brown Sugar
 2 Whole Cloves
 1 Allspice Berry
 1 ½ Cinnamon Sticks
 1 Small Knob Ginger
 1 Apple Slice

Method
1

Add brandy, sherry, apple cider, brown sugar, cloves, allspice, 1/2 cinnamon stick, and ginger to a saucepan over low heat.

2

Heat for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.

3

Strain into a mug.

4

Garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ⅔ oz Apple Brandy
 1 ⅔ oz Oloroso Sherry
 3 ¼ oz Apple Cider
 ¼ oz Brown Sugar
 2 Whole Cloves
 1 Allspice Berry
 1 ½ Cinnamon Sticks
 1 Small Knob Ginger
 1 Apple Slice

Directions

Method
1

Add brandy, sherry, apple cider, brown sugar, cloves, allspice, 1/2 cinnamon stick, and ginger to a saucepan over low heat.

2

Heat for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.

3

Strain into a mug.

4

Garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.

Weeknight Wassail

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More Dessert Cocktails

If you like this hot cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Mocha Rum Toddy: A rum cocktail made with coffee, dark crème de cacao, simple syrup, whipped cream, and cocoa powder

Pumpkin Cider: An apply brandy and dark rum cocktail made with apple cider, pumpkin cubes, butter, sugar, whole cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and grated nutmeg

Banana Buttered Rum: A dark rum cocktail made with hot water, banana butter, star anise, and a cinnamon stick

Tokyo Toddy: A sake cocktail made with mandarine Napoleon liqueur, brown sugar, ginger slices, and an orange slice

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