Be Well!

Wassail is a delicious beverage made from hot apple cider and mulling spices, and has been associated with Christmas and the New Year as far back as the 1400s. An annual tradition of passing on good wishes among family and friends, wassail was (and still is) part of the English Yuletide celebration of “wassailing”, the practice of going door-to-door and singing songs of joy and blessings to the neighbors.

Wassail gets its name from the Old English term “waes hael”, meaning “be well”, and it was a Saxon custom that during the Yuletide celebration, the lord of the manor would shout the blessing to his gathered friends and family. So, whether you’re planning to carry a thermos and a few styrofoam cups as you go door-to-door in song or just open up your home to family and friends for a holiday celebration, this recipe will provide them with a wonderfully delicious cup of wassail!

Wassail (Hot Spiced Cider)


1 gallon apple cider or apple juice
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
4 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice


In a Dutch oven or large soup pot, combine the first 5 ingredients. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice equally in 2 or 3 coffee filters. Bring up the edges of the filters and secure each with a small, clean rubber-band. Add to the pan. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until flavors are blended (do not boil). Discard the spice bags.


No matter the time of the year, there is nothing more beautiful than to be able to bless someone in the Name of the Lord. In fact, the lyrics from one of the most popular wassailing carols goes like this:

“Love and joy come to you,
and to you your wassail too,
and may God bless and send you
a happy new year,
and God send you
a happy new year.”

The writer of this song may or may not have known that the real source of love and joy is only found through a relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray this is true for you, however, and that God, our Heavenly Father, will bless you abundantly as you live a life dedicated to His Son, the One who died to save you.

And with that, I will shout “Waes hael!” “Be well!” Or even better, 3 John 1:2: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul!”

– Cheri Henderson

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