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How to Make Wassail

Updated: Jan 19

A Madrigal Dinner isn’t complete without the classic Wassail Toast. But, what exactly is wassail (pronounced WOSS-əl or WOSS-⁠ayl, or for my late 90’s folk, WAZZ-ayl)?


Wassail is a hot, mulled cider that was traditionally consumed in Old England around Christmastide as a form of communal salutation. In the 13th century, the phrase “wassail bowl” first appeared. It refers to a hot, steaming bowl of ale mixed with wine.


Medieval celebrators would dip their bread and cakes into the big wassail bowl and toast in celebration. Consequently, this was also the first time we saw references to our modern concept of “toasting” (like the party speech, not the buttery bread goodness).


Basically, wassail is the OG of holiday toasts.


A Simple Madrigal Dinner Script

Many Madrigal Dinners start the evening with this special toast. The aroma and flavor of this spiced drink are sure to put your audience in good spirits. Though some recipes include alcohol, there are plenty of recipes without. If this is a high school event, we recommend the alcohol-free version.


So, what if I told you we had a sacred recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation since the days of King Arthur? You wouldn’t believe me? That’s fair. But, I have asked that ancient seer, Google, what the most popular recipes are, and I can share the highest-rated wassail recipe with you! You know it’s good because it’s called The Best Ever Hot Wassail Recipe. How could it fail?


The Best Ever Hot Wassail Recipe (Credit: YummyHealthyEasy)


Ingredients

  • 8 cups apple cider

  • 2 cups orange juice

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

  • 4 whole cinnamon sticks

  • 12 whole cloves or 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a large pan.

  • Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce heat and continue simmering for 45 minutes. Ladle into cups or mugs and enjoy!

This recipe makes 8 servings, so for a Madrigal Dinner event of 150-200 people, you must multiply this recipe by 20 or more. That’s a whole bunch of pots of this good stuff, but it will be worth it!


A good wassail will bring festive smells into your Madrigal Dinner event, and with the dessert aroma, you will also start your evening with very warm tidings. Now, all you have to do is come up with a good speech (psst, we provide that, too, in each of our scripts 😉).

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