One of the highlights: a meal at King Henry's Feast, a now-defunct Medieval Times ripoff featuring live jousting, whole turkey legs served right on the bone, and an open invitation to refer to your waitress as "wench." I don't recall the beverage we were wassailing with—it may very well have been Coca-cola or something lame like that—but part of the program involved our host, King Henry, shouting out, "All Hail!" and we'd respond in kind, our cheap tin goblets raised high above our heads, "Wassail!" and then we'd take a drink.
Our feast fell on one of the days immediately following Christmas, and the "banquet hall" there in Orlando was still decorated for the holidays, so I've always remembered the word "wassail" as something very Christmassy and medieval. Apparently, we had been wishing one another "good health" and imploring some Anglo-Saxon gods to give us another good apple harvest the following year—or Coke harvest, as the case may have been.
Whatever that beverage was I was wassailing with those 20 years ago, it wasn't anything like what TJ's has offered us in this Winter Wassail. Because if it had been anything like this, I most certainly would have remembered it more vividly. Not just because this Winter Wassail is delicious, but because it's so unique. It's everything that the Spiced Cranberry Cider should have been, and then some. Granted, there's no cranberry juice, but it's sweet, tart, spicy, and has three types of real fruit juices.
The finish still has the faintest whisper of potpourri and spice drops, but I imagine it's not quite the same as drinking a scented candle, unlike the above-mentioned cranberry cider. It's super versatile: it can be consumed hot or cold (I prefer it cold), with or without cinnamon, and I hear it mixes pretty well with various alcoholic additives, including most red wines. It just tastes like Christmas smells. The Shellys apparently liked it even more than we did, as I was instructed to give it a good score or else my privilege to review it would be revoked. Sonia and I are on the same page here. Are double fours high enough, Russ and Sandy? :-p
Bottom line: 8 out of 10.
Weirdly, this tasted like Hawaiian Punch to me. A more grown up, holiday version, of course but I couldn't shake the feeling that I should be drinking this out of a bright blue can.ReplyDelete
Lol! Actually now that you mention it, it's not that far off from "Spiced Hawaiian Punch." Good thing I like Hawaiian Punch (minus the HFCS).Delete
We'll accept an 8, Mr. Rodgers. It's Christmas (or soon to be), after all :)/ We prefer it warm (which is unusual for me) and have heard (but not verified) that a little Triple Ginger Brew mixed in is wondrous.ReplyDelete
That Ginger Brew is awesome! Finally tried it...but now I'm wishing I hadn't downed the whole bottle in one sitting and had a bit left over to try with our last bit of Wassail...Delete
Damn! I was literally holding this in the store and decided it was too heavy to schlep around nyc with what else i was buying....! Gotta go back, this sounds amazing.ReplyDelete
Triple ginger brew makes an amazing dark and stormy
It is well worth schlepping around NYC, IMO :)Delete
I tried this and really enjoyed it. Have yet to warm it with some red wine but will do so before I finish off the bottle. Bummed to find out that the honey crisp apple cider was only a seasonal item =(ReplyDelete
Yeah that cider is really amazing too. Oh well, there's always next year...Delete
I'm drinking it now, warm with Tetra Vega Male from the 14th St Trader Joe's Wine Shop. It's good! This is what makes winter tolerable (andtm the fried holiday treats!)Delete
I also enjoy the Winter Wassail cold with Don Q Cristal rum. Add ice for a more refreshing taste.
I liked this, but I try not to drink beverages with added sugar =(ReplyDelete
Ugh I went to try this today and apparently they are already done selling it, as it's "seasonal". It's not even Christmas yet...lame.ReplyDelete
That's super lame. I planned to buy some more for New Years...Delete
Can't find it at any TJ in Los Angeles!ReplyDelete
If you've ever enjoyed a baked ham seasoned with cloves, you'll be disappointed to discover that the bottle of Trader Joe's Winter Wassail does NOT include one. Indeed, I'm put off by the stuff because it's spiced so similarly to a delicious ham, but without the gratification of chomping into that delicious holiday meat.ReplyDelete
I absolutely LOVED this intricate concoction. Each sip exploded my taste buds with something new and different - sometimes really picking up the Black Currant, or the cloves or the cinnamon and cardamom. The citrus notes of orange and lemon were there, but not overpowering. This is certainly like having Scentsy wax flavors in your mouth, but in a good and Christmassy way. It's so so rich, though, that I probably wouldn't want it more than once a year. Maybe next year, I'll try it with adding the adult beverages to it ...ReplyDelete
Perhaps the worst Trader Joe's product we've ever had. Much too tweet and far too heavy on the cinnamon and nutmeg spices. Oh, well... no one's perfect.ReplyDelete
This follows a very similar recipe to glögg, a Nordic drink that is traditionally consumed during Christmastime. It reminds me of winters I've spent in Finland, and I love to drink it hot since the warmth brings out more flavor from the spices. Many people at my store (I'm a TJ's employee) don't like it, and to them I say phooey!ReplyDelete