The Friday Cocktail: Year-End Cure

Whether you’re facing year-end close madness or recovering from it, this warm, nourishing wassail will mellow you out. A marriage of mulled cider and hot buttered rum, it’s perfect for a party or relaxing by the fire. For that toasty feeling without the buzz, make the rum-free version.

Wassail recipe (4 servings):

  • 6 oz good dark rum, such as Barbancourt 8
  • 4 half-inch slabs of compound butter (recipe below)
  • 5 cups mulled apple cider (recipe below)
  • For garnish: Orange peel, whole cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks 

Make the compound butter: Mash together 2/3 cups unsalted butter and 1/3 cups brown sugar. Add ground cinnamon, allspice and star anise to taste. Mix well. Roll into a log on waxed paper. Refrigerate wrapped in the waxed paper until firm.

Make the mulled cider: To a 2-quart saucepan of apple cider, add whole cloves, a cinnamon stick, a star anise or two and the peel of an orange. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes.

To make the wassail: Add butter, cider and rum to a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until butter is melted and cider is hot. Pour into 4 cups. Garnish each cup with a clove-studded orange peel, a star anise and a cinnamon stick.

Nonalcoholic recipe (4 servings):

  • 1 qt apple cider
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 long peel of orange studded with whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 pinch ground ginger

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Discard orange peel, cloves, cinnamon, and anise. Serve hot in heavy stemmed wine glasses.

Need other drinks for your holiday celebrations? Check out the rest of our recipes in the RoseRyan 20th Anniversary Cocktail Collection cocktail book. Every one of these drinks has its charms, thanks to the fine mixologists at the Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa, California, who invented them.

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