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Wassail recipe from Philadelphia’s City Tavern


Recipe courtesy Friends of Independence
City Tavern serves wassail for the whole season, whenever there is a chill in the air. The restaurant is open 365 days a year serving authentic 18th century cuisine and recreating a colonial dining experience. Chef Walter Staib has been proprietor for 17 years and strives to preserve American culinary heritage through the restaurant and his Emmy Award winning PBS cooking show A Taste of History.


From the City Tavern Cookbook ©1999 by Walter Staib Running Press Book Publishers, Philadelphia & London

Serves 6, Makes 24 Ounces


  • 2 tablespoons grated orange rind (about 1 medium orange)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind (about 1 medium lemon)
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 5 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) red Burgundy wine
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 pinches freshly grated nutmeg

Place the orange and lemon rinds, cloves and cinnamon sticks into a piece of 100% cotton cheesecloth and tie up with kitchen twine to make a sachet.

Pour the wine into a large saucepan.

Place the sugar and sachet in the wine over low heat. Add the nutmeg.

Heat until the wine is very warm. Do not let it boil, as boiling will burn off the alcohol content.

Remove from the heat and discard the sachet.

Serve in a fondue pot or ovenproof punch bowl.