Wassail was a key part of celebrating Twelfth Night, which we talk about in this week’s episode of That Shakespeare Life, we talk with Francois Laroque. Dr. Laroque shares with us about Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, as well as the real historical traditions the bard would have used to celebrate the holiday. Wassailing was the act of going from house to house singing what is comparable to Christmas carols today, and they often took with them (or received from the houses) this traditional apple wassail beverage that we make in this week’s episode of Experience Shakespeare: How to Make Traditional English Apple Wassail.

Traditional Apple Wassail Recipe

I started with this recipe from Lavender and Lovage. Then I changed/modified a few things. Here’s what I did.


  • 1 orange with cloves poked into the outside
  • Three red apples, cored and left whole.
  • ½ c raw cane sugar
  • Three tablespoons brown sugar (one per apple)
  • 150 ml port (about ½ cup + Splash)
  • 150 ml dry sherry (about ½ c + splash)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 6 Tbsp Water, filtered


  1. Start by coring the apples and putting them in a baking pan. Cover the orange in cloves and put it in the baking pan, too.
  2. Fill each apple with one tablespoon of brown sugar
  3. Place the whole pan (orange with it!) in the over, 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. You don’t want them to fall apart, so watch them.
  4. Remove the apples from the pan and set to the side. I covered mine in tin foil to keep them warm while I made the wassail.
  5. Cut the orange (With cloves remaining) in half. Place one of the halves intothe medium sauce pan.
  6. Pour the juice from the pan into a medium saucepan.
  7. Add the cinnamon stick, cane sugar, ginger, port, and sherry to the pan. Stir on medium high heat until sugar is dissolved.
  8. Once dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, turn the entire thing off immediately and remove from the heat.
  9. Remove the orange and cloves from the pan.
  10. Replace the apples back into the saucepan.
  11. It’s ready to drink!


This drink tastes like it has a high alcohol content to me. What that means I recommend is that you drink this in small doses and with food. Perfect party drink!

To learn how this drink appears in Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, and the history of the Twelfth Night celebrations using wassail (the drink, and the song!) listen to this week’s episode of That Shakespeare Life at www.cassidycash.com/ep37

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