This spiced wassail from the Biltmore Estate is perfect for caroling or simply enjoying

Biltmore Estate
This wassail is perfect for cold holiday nights.

This is part of Southern Kitchen's 12 Days of Cookies and Cocktails series, which runs daily through Christmas Eve. Each day, we'll pair fun festive cocktails with classic cookie recipes. This wassail would be lovely with classic sugar cookies. Get the recipe.

Wassail is a traditional warm holiday punch that's seen many variations through the years. The name means "be in good health." In the Christmas carol "The Wassail Song," the "wassail" refers to good wishes, not to the beverage. But tradition has it that carolers might hope to be rewarded with a bowl of wassail for their efforts.

This recipe, provided by the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, can help you knock off winter’s chill. It features Biltmore Estate's Wassail Spice Blend and Biltmore red wine, but you can substitute other brands. This recipe is for one cocktail, so batch as needed.

Ingredients

3 ounces of  red wine (Biltmore Estate Limited Release Merlot is a perfect choice)

2 ounces water

2 teaspoons Biltmore Wassail Spice Blend, or other wassail spice

¾ ounces Hudson bourbon (or your preference)

¼ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 dash walnut bitters

1 teaspoon honey

Diced apples, sliced oranges, whole cloves, star anise (optional)

Cinnamon stick (optional for stirring)

Instructions

Combine wine and water in a pot and heat. Just before the mixture reaches a boil, remove from heat and add wassail spice blend, stirring until dissolved.

Pour mixture into a coffee mug. Add bourbon, lemon juice, and bitters; use the teaspoon of honey to stir and blend the beverage while infusing the flavors. Add diced apples, sliced oranges, whole cloves, and star anise if you like. You can even let folks stir it with a cinnamon stick. 

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