Saturday, December 20, 2008

Make your spirits bright: Wassail

On Friday I interviewed an artist, Morgantown metalsmith Amy Johns, at her shop in the historic Seneca Center. She shares The Little Studio with business partner and fellow crafter Carolyn Schuessler and the glass factory's original freight elevator that dates to 1902.

Amy and Carolyn had set up Christmas cookies, punch and hot wassail for a holiday open house. At their urging, I grabbed a cup while they helped a customer. Then, without much urging, Carolyn shared her recipe.

I made it for the church youth group Christmas party at my house tonight. A few of the teens tried it with no complaints and the oldest youth adviser, probably in his 70s, went back for more than one glass.

I just had a little myself with a nip of brandy in it ... but only after all the guests have gone home.

1 gallon apple cider
1 large can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 large can pineapple juice
8 short cinnamon sticks or 4 long ones
27 whole cloves

Mix all ingredients in a large stockpot. Simmer on stovetop for 2 hours or until cinnamon sticks swell. Strain sticks and cloves and discard. Serve hot.
Optional: Add a shot of Maker's Mark brandy to individual servings.

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