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Wassail is a must have Christmas recipe

By Miranda H. Lotz

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 20 2011 5:43 p.m. MST

Richard Port shows off a tray of his homemade candy canes.

Miranda H. Lotz

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Editor's note: Deseret News readers share their holiday food traditions.

Growing up, the wonderful magic of Christmas always seemed to center around two places: the Christmas tree and the kitchen.

The tree seemed to embody the spirit of giving and sharing that appears more readily at this time of year, while the kitchen seemed to be a microcosm of creation with my mom as the sun and all of the children orbiting around her in a planetary dance hoping for a piece of homemade fudge or divinity.

But there was one treat that topped them all: hot wassail.

Now as the creator of my own family's holiday festivities, I know that even if there is no snow, and Rudolph's nose just won't glow, Christmas will still be Christmas as long as we have our traditional wassail recipe. Brewed with love and a good dose of cinnamon sticks, wassail symbolizes the warmth of the holiday.

Wassail is a traditional hot drink made primarily from juice and spices. The term wassail comes from middle English as a blessing meaning, "Good health." Wassailing was a traditional tour of neighboring farms wishing them abundance for the next year's produce.

This recipe doubles as a wonderful potpourri if you simmer it on the stove for a while before serving it. I hope your family will have good health and a prosperous New Year as you enjoy our family's traditional recipe.

EASY CHRISTMAS WASSAIL

4 cups water

4 cinnamon sticks

8 all spice berries

10 whole cloves

1/2 cup white sugar

3 cups cranberry juice

3 cups apple cider

11/2 cups orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and them bring to a boil. Simmer wassail until you are ready to serve.

Pour wassail into cups leaving the spices in the pot. Garnish with fresh cinnamon sticks or oranges. Makes 12 cups.

Miranda H. Lotz is a military wife, mother of four, bibliophile and musician.