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In Victorian times, carolers during the Christmas season would visit neighboring homes and sing Christmas carols. Those welcoming the singers would offer a warm drink called Wassail, essentially, spiced hot apple cider. This is the origin of the song Here We Come A-Wassailing. This is a delicious, soothing drink. I make it every Christmas and as it simmers, the scent that fills your house is sweet and festive. I love this stuff.
1 gallon (16 cups) apple cider
1 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
10 2-inch cinnamon sticks, broken in half
whole cloves (about 1 teaspoon)
6 oranges, each cut into 6 to 8 wedges
In a 6 quart Dutch oven or kettle (a stock pot will do), stir together cider, lemon juice and sugar. Add cinnamon sticks. Insert a clove in the peel side of each orange wedge. Add to cider mixture. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove orange wedges and cinnamon sticks with slotted spoon, if you like. makes 16 to 18 8 ounce servings.
Once this is ready, you can serve it in a punch bowl or even keep it in a crock pot so it will stay warm the whole day. I keep leftovers in a pitcher in the refrigerator and warm a cup in the microwave. I drink it for days after Christmas.
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