Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wassail a la Turner

Once upon a time, my friends Kelly and Karen threw big parties at the holidays. What was memorable about these parties was the number of people all toiling away on sewing projects for other costumed galas, and Kelly's wonderful wassail on the kitchen stove.

I recently found a xeroxed copy of the recipe tucked away with my other treasured recipes. While many in attendance at those long-ago holiday parties are no longer physically with us, the camaraderie continues on, so I'm taking the liberty of turning Kelly's recipe loose in the world. Make this punch, invite a bunch of people over, and sew something pretty for the holidays!

(This recipe is a perversion of the one found in the Playboy Bartender's Guide)

Brown sugar
White sugar (optional)
Stick cinnamon
Ground ginger
Ground nutmeg
Whole allspice
Whole cloves
Brandy (apple brandy works best)
Apple cider (apple juice will also work)

Core approximately 10 apples and place in a 13x9x2 baking pan. Fill cores of apples with brown sugar. Pour 1 cup water into bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Combine 5 sticks cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 6 allspice berries, and 6 cloves on a square of porous cotton fabric (a large-size coffee filter will also do). Tie into a packet using a piece of string. (For a little extra flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the mixture.)

Pour 1 gallon cider into large stockpot. Add baked apples and juices from pan. Add 1 cup sugar (brown or white). Add 1/2 of a 750ml bottle of sherry. Add 1 cup brandy (or more, depending on your taste). Slice up 1 orange and float slices in mixture. Add spice packet. Heat slowly over low flame. Do not boil--it will remove the alcohol!