Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Other Cocktails

Autumn Wassail

Autumn Wassail in a tall, thin toddy glass against a dark, slate-grey backdrop. A fan of three apple slices on a fancy skewer is the garnish. / Tim Nusog

When the weather turns chilly, you can put on a sweater, or you can reach for a glass of Wassail. The latter is the only one of the two that tastes good as it warms you up, because it’s a spiced apple cider drink that can be spiked with alcohol, should you so choose.

Traditionally, Wassail was served in England during the holidays, and it often accompanied acts of door-to-door singing and fundraising for people in need. But, like all good drinks, it can be consumed any time of year and for any occasion.

The Autumn Wassail comes from Chad Solomon and Christy Pope, the co-owners of Midnight Rambler in Dallas. It features rum and cognac—always a fine one-two punch of spirituous flavor—plus homemade Wassail. That Wassail is composed of apple cider, unsweetened pomegranate juice, white sugar, fresh orange and lemon juices, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. It’s an autumnal bonanza.

Wassail is usually served hot, but the Autumn Wassail can also be served chilled, if you’re in the mood for a cold drink.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Louis Royer Force 53° VSOP cognac

  • 1/2 ounce Santa Teresa 1796 rum

  • 4 ounces wassail*, hot (or 3 ounces wassail*, chilled, if serving cold)

  • Garnish: 3 skewered apple slices


If serving hot:

  1. Add the cognac and rum to a toddy glass.

  2. Top with the wassail.

  3. Garnish with apple slices.

If serving cold:

  1. Add the cognac, rum and chilled wassail to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

*Wassail: Add 1 quart organic apple cider, 2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice, 1/4 cup granulated white sugar, 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon whole cloves and 1 teaspoon whole allspice into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, then strain out the solids. Store in refrigerator.