Simmering Holiday Potpourri and Wassail Recipe

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.

By Annie B. Bond

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Kirsten Bergen
Kirsten B.5 years ago

This sounds delicious. I'll try it with plain apple juice to cater for youngsters / non-drinkers too.

Jeannine Likins
Jeannine Likins6 years ago

I didn't know how the "youngsters" at our huge Solstice Feast would feel about spiced cider, considering there were cakes and plenty of ale...but, the wonderful hot spicy cider was the first to go...and, tasted just like MORE!

Lorraine K.
Goddess Lozz8 years ago

As I am pagan and going to be celebrating the winter solstice, I look forward to making this simple Wassail recipe, thanks!

Tammy aka Laughing Leaf
tammymarie h.8 years ago

I want to make it right now! It does seem like it'd be extra yummy, Mary!

Mary Kloss
Mary Kloss8 years ago

Yummmmmmmy,,,,this sounds wonderful,,,,thank you Annie,,,,Mary