Colder weather means it’s time for a hot beverage and wassail is a popular choice during the yuletide. This old English drink is historically made from mulled cider along with an infusion of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and other spices. Today’s wassail recipes have evolved, often beginning with a base of wine, juice or ale and punched up with brandy or sherry. Keeping these traditions in mind, has a delicious wassail recipe that we’ve created for one of our popular groomsmen gifts (which also makes a great Christmas gift, by the way) – the Personalized Mini Whiskey Barrel.

These scaled-down oak barrels with a medium char are made to hold your favorite liquors and mingle them with the flavor of the wood in a fraction of the time that it takes the distiller (thanks to a better liquor-to-wood surface ratio). Our mini-barrels are not just great groomsmen gifts, they also make top-notch gifts for men and are available in 1, 2 and 3-liter sizes, depending on the recipient’s propensity to imbibe. Each comes with a display stand and complementary personalization burnished into the wood.

Mini Whiskey Barrel Aged Wassail

  • 1 liter red wine
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 18 whole cloves
  • 1 orange sliced and halved, peel on
  • 1 lemon sliced and halved, peel on

Combine first 7 ingredients in the barrel (2-liter size). Let mixture mellow for 2-3 weeks, tasting every day for quality control and “doneness.” The mini barrel adds flavor to the wine and the additional ingredients round out the overall taste and ambiance of the libation, it’s time to finish the recipe when you think it tastes rich and well-mingled – it’s totally subjective. Pour mixture over a cheesecloth or fine strainer into a large pot; add orange and lemon slices. Heat wassail on the stove top over medium-low until warmed through (don’t boil). Serve while still hot in mugs.