It's time for the percolator. Not Cajmere's percolator. Percolator wassail. I've written before about those recipes that have the ability to transport you back in time, and bring back such vivid images of people and places. This is another one of those recipes.
My mother made this Percolator Wassail every year during the holidays. She would have some percolating in the kitchen while we decorated the tree. The intoxicating smells of hot cider over cinnamon, orange, allspice and clove filled our home. To me, this is what Christmas smells like. In college, Mom and I would sit and sip Percolator Wassail and talk for hours with the lights on the tree glowing in the background.
Today Josh and I continue this much loved Christmas tradition in our house. It's especially important to prepare this while we decorate our tree with the kids. Right before serving, Josh and I will occasionally throw a splash or two of bourbon in, just for good measure. If you've ever tried to decorate for Christmas with a one year old and a four year old, you'll probably want to throw some bourbon in too.
The recipe for Percolator Wassail comes from a very special cookbook titled Pitts, Pots, Pans, and Pies that my great-aunt Millie complied 30 years ago. It's filled with family recipes that stretch back 100+ years. Dozens of family members contributed their favorite original recipes to the cookbook, which was amazingly assembled before email or Blurb, which would make it so easy to do today. The recipes must have been collected via snail mail or dictated over the phone.
What are some of your favorite family holiday recipes?
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do, and that maybe it will become a holiday favorite in your house too! Cheers!
Percolator Wassail (old family recipe from Pitts, Pots, Pans, and Pies)
- apple cider
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- dash of nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 orange cut into wedges (leave the peel on)
Pour apple cider into the lower part of a 10-12 cup electric coffee maker (percolator). Place basket in coffee maker and put all remaining ingredients in basket. Cover and perk. Enjoy!