Our Family Wassail

I adore Junior League cookbooks.   I have a ton of them and one of my favorites is a local one:   Stir Ups.    We grew up close to Enid, Oklahoma (from whence this book hails).    I would put this cookbook up against any of the JL books.   It is superior and would make a great gift for any cookbook collector.

stir ups

We have a lot of favorite family recipes that come from this book as my sister, mother, and I all have copies. Some of our favorites include Oklahoma Baked Beans, “Jeannine Bower’s Hot Artichoke Spread,” and Golden Wassail.   Wassail became a staple at all our holiday functions after we latched on to this recipe.

Our Family Wassail
Adapted from Golden Wassail (by Ruth Dobbs)
Stir Ups by the Junior Welfare League of Enid, OK

4 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
2 (5.5-oz.) cans apricot nectar
4 c. apple cider
1 c. low pulp orange juice
1 6-inch cinnamon stick
1 t. whole cloves
1/2 t. whole cardamom seeds, crushed
1 lemon, sliced
1 orange, sliced

Crushed cardamom seeds.

Crushed cardamom seeds.

Combine all juices in a large pot.  Break cinnamon stick into smaller pieces.   Place cinnamon, cloves and cardamom seeds in a spice ball or wrap them up in a cheese cloth pouch.    Add spice ball along with the sliced citrus to the kettle.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat and summer 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat (or we just let it simmer on low all afternoon.)   Pour hot wassail into mugs; garnish with the orange or lemon slices.

The juice measurements can be suggestions as can the spices.  I have made this beverage with “more-or-less” of each juice.  Sometimes we add more pineapple juice and sometimes more cider—it depends on how much we need to stretch it.   I have also made this with peach nectar and we  have  been known to throw in a bit of allspice and star anise as well.

Adult-like spirits can be added to this before serving.

Adult-like spirits can be added to this before serving.

Besides the aforementioned idea of buying a vintage copy of  Stir Ups (or any Junior League cookbook, for that matter) for the foodie in your life, I would also recommend putting the ingredients for this beverage in a basket and delivering it to friends on Christmas Eve for a do-it-yourself gift.



13 comments to Our Family Wassail

  • Taking On Magazines

    I don’t own a single junior league cookbook. How bad is that? I do have several from various churches if that counts for anything. For me, wassil means Christmas.

    • Here is how I categorize my favorite cookbooks:
      1. JL
      2. Gourmet cookbooks (both yellow and green)
      3. Church cookbooks

      I definitely list them in my top three. I love looking back through some of my books that were church or community compilations and remembering those people and their food.

  • So funny, we were thinking alike, I was just reading about your Wassail when your comment came across my screen. It’s almost like sitting and having coffee together, better yet this yummy sounding Wassail! 🙂

  • I’m with you – these old, local cookbooks of family favorites are the best! My favorite is “A Cook’s Tour of Shreveport”. I’ve never seen Stir Ups and I just love the cover. 🙂 What a great Wassail recipe! What year is this cookbook? I ask because it’s unusual to see an older Junior League cookbook using cardamom seeds. The ones I have stop with the cloves and cinnamon. Fun post!

    • Early 80s, as I recall. We had never heard of cardamom and that may be why we were fascinated with this recipe. I think the first time we made it, we had to use ground cardamom b/c we could not find the pods anywhere. I will have to see out the JL Shreveport book!

  • Vintage cookbooks are some of my favorite so thanks for the recommendation, I will check this one out. I have a shelf full of old gardening cookbooks that I love dearly!

  • Mmmmmm……….so warm and comforting. Yes please!!

  • I saw this on the SRC blog. I honestly just wanted to comment on your glassware usage in this picture. I LOVE seeing the old Depression glass dishes being used for food shots. I do believe that’s called Miss America? In pink is pretty collectible. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by. You are correct—it is Miss America. Some of it was my grandmother’s and then we have added to the set.