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Rittenhouse Wassail Punch Recipe

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Wassail is a deeply rooted tradition in the Midwest and a popular regional staple throughout the cold-weather season. Every winter as the holidays approach, many Wisconsinites still take part in the age-old “wassailing of apple trees,” a ritual dating back to the fifteenth century that involves sprinkling wassail on apple trees to ensure a strong, healthy harvest and to keep the trees safe from evil spirits. Wassail always blends apples and winter holiday spices, but the sweeteners and spirits often change from recipe to recipe. In this recipe, which is featured in Imbibe's new book The American Cocktail, the cranberry juice is a perfectly tart counterpart to the sweetness of the apple cider and brown sugar, and the bourbon lends a full, rich quality, and the ginger, pepper, and spices offer a final kick of flavor. It comes from The Rittenhouse Inn in Bayfield, Wisconsin, an area that leads apple production in Wisconsin.

Wassail
12 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
1/2 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
12 whole white peppercorns
1 gallon fresh apple cider
6 oz. cranberry juice
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 oz. bourbon per drink


 

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