It’s nice to fill our homes with spicy and comforting fragrances at holiday time, and this favorite recipe for simmering potpourri not only makes your house smell divine, you can drink it, too. Apple cider combined with cinnamon and other homey spices is the secret to the beguiling fragrance, and the brew itself is delicious.
This simmering potpourri even offers a health benefit: The gentle steam is healing for nasal passages dried out by home heating and cold dry air (in fact, the word “wassail” comes from an Anglo-Saxon toast to good health and wholeness). All you do is throw a few ingredients in a pan on the stove, set it on simmer, and replenish the liquid as needed. We always get compliments on how wonderful our homes smell and how tasty the wassail is. Here’s the secret:
- Apple cider to fill a largish soup pot
- One apple, cut horizontally to make circular round slices 1/2-inch thick
- One orange, cut into round slices 1/2-inch thick
- 3 whole cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 whole allspice berries
- One 2-inch piece of fresh gingerroot, cut into small rounds
1. Place all ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a simmer, then reduce and allow to simmer uncovered, adding cider as liquid evaporates.
2. When guests arrive, ladle out a mugful of the hot cider for each person, adding a splash of bourbon or brandy, if you like, and serve with an additional cinnamon stick in each mug.