To make 10 to 12 servings of Wassail punch, take 12 whole gloves, 6 whole allspice, 1/2 inch of a peeled and sliced fresh ginger root, 3 cinnamon sticks and 12 whole white peppercorns, wrap in a cheesecloth, and tie off with a kitchen string. In a pot, bring a mixture of 1 gallon of apple cider, 6 ounces of cranberry juice, 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar and the spices to a boil.
After the pot begins to boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes. As per the recipe from the Rittenhouse Inn in Bayfield, Wisconsin, add 1 ounce of bourbon to each mug of hot Wassail, and add a pinch of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick to each mug.
For a simpler, alcohol-free version of Wassail punch that serves 12, mix 2 quarts of apple cider with 2 cups of orange juice and 1/2 cup of lemon juice in a pot, and allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for 8 hours. You may also simmer in a slow cooker all day instead of a pot. Add 12 whole cloves, 4 cinnamon sticks and a pinch of nutmeg and ginger to the mixture to season.
According to an old tradition in the Midwest part of the United States, people used to sprinkle Wassail punch on apple trees to ward off evil spirits and guarantee a healthy and abundant harvest.