I think I might've shared my wassail recipe last year but I'm sharing again, because this a HUGE hit at holiday parties. Someone asks me for the recipe every year. Perfect after caroling (does anyone else still go caroling?) Do get yourself some handmade mugs for your warm winter drinks... there's nothing cozier than a warm fire and a warm drink out of a handmade mug.
Corn syrup (this year I used maple syrup and I liked it better - use the real stuff if you do, not Aunt Jemima)
3 Tb. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tb. butter
3 small applies (I like green ones)
1 gallon apple cider (I have a second gallon on hand to top it off usually, it goes fast)
1 lemon (and I added an orange this year)
3-4 cinnamon sticks
Slice applies into 1/4" slices. If you cut them horizontally it shows the pretty star pattern. Remove seeds. Dip slices in syrup, then in cinnamon mixed with sugar. Fry in the butter.
Fill a 4 or 5 quart crock pot with the cider and then put the apples in when they're done. There will be gooey buttery cinnamony goodness in the frying pan, throw that in too. Stir. Toss in the whole cinnamon sticks. Slice the lemons and oranges, if you're using them, and stud each section with a whole clove, and put those in the pot too.
Some years I'll add a little bit of another kind of juice, such as cranberry or pineapple, for a little different flavor. Just a cup or two.
Once everything's in the crock put, put it on high for about an hour to two hours, then turn it to its lowest setting to keep it warm during your get-together.
And of course, a little brandy or rum or even white wine added as its served never hurts... if you put it in the crock pot when it's hot the alcohol cooks off, though. Serve with a cinnamon stick and a curl of lemon peel, if you want it to look pretty.
If you make it once for a party, prepare to make it every year for the same party!