Trader Joe’s Winter Wassail Punch

Not long ago, I picked up a bottle of holiday wassail from Aldi. The fruity spiced drink hails from England, where wassailing was part of a ceremony that consisted of going into orchards and singing and drinking to the health of the trees on the Twelfth Night, or the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

This ceremony was meant to “awaken” apple cider trees and scare away evil spirits in order for the fall harvest to be good. The tradition often included putting bread soaked in ale on tree branches to thank the trees, which is where we reportedly get the tradition of “toasting” someone with a drink.

It turns out, Aldi is not the only retailer that sells bottled wassail punch during the holidays. I also found some at Trader Joe’s, which is a cousin to Aldi. I was curious to see how the Aldi and Trader Joe’s wassail differed from each other.

Trader Joe's Winter Wassail Punch

Trader Joe’s Winter Wassail Punch cost $4.99 for a 64-fluid-ounce bottle.

The label describes this as “a festive beverage blend of apple, cherry, blackcurrant and lemon juices from concentrate infused with holiday spices and orange peel.” This is pasteurized, and it’s kosher certified.

The Trader Joe’s wassail bottle states:

A wassail is an old English drink accompanied by rituals believed to influence a plentiful apple harvest in the following year. It has evolved to become a mulled beverage made with spices and served in a large communal bowl, frequently served at social gatherings during yuletide. Although the ways of the communal bowl might have disappeared, we encourage the holiday ritual of serving wassail hot or cold to family and friends.

This contains 21% juice. Ingredients are water, cane sugar, apple juice concentrate, cherry juice concentrate, blackcurrant juice concentrate, citric acid (acidulant), natural flavor, spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger), lemon juice concentrate, and orange peel.

(The ingredients are practically identical between the TJ’s wassail and the Aldi wassail, with the only noticeable differences being that some ingredients are listed in a slightly different order, and the TJ’s wassail contains orange peel while the Aldi wassail contains orange extract.)

One bottle of TJ’s wassail contains eight 8-ounce servings. One serving has 120 calories and no fat or sodium. One serving also has 30 grams of total carbohydrates (11% DV), 29 grams of total sugars, and 26 grams of added sugars (52% DV).

Trader Joe's Winter Wassail Punch

Nutrition information and ingredients. (Click to enlarge.)

The bottle states to shake well before serving. Refrigerate after opening. Serve chilled over ice or warmed on the stovetop. For an adult beverage, warm on the stovetop with red wine or your favorite spirit and, if desired, cinnamon sticks and orange peel. Do not boil.

We tried this both cold and warm, and — as was the case with the Aldi wassail as well — we like it a lot better warmed. When served warm, it tastes similar to spiced apple cider. I think the spices such as cloves, nutmeg, etc., seem slightly less strong in this TJ’s wassail compared to the Aldi wassail, with the fruity notes coming through a bit more in the TJ’s version. One of our other taste testers thought the TJ’s wassail had a stronger flavor overall compared to the Aldi wassail. We also noticed the TJ’s wassail has a darker, deeper red color compared to the Aldi wassail. However, any differences in flavor are pretty minimal. This is still a strongly spiced drink, and if our taste testers are any indication, wassail may be a bit of an acquired taste, or it may go best when mixed with wine or other alcohol.

The Verdict:

Trader Joe’s Winter Wassail Punch features various fruit juice concentrates — apple, blackcurrant, cherry — along with classic winter spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger. This is like a strong spiced apple cider, and some people may like it more than others. It can be served chilled or warm, though we prefer it warm. You can also serve it with red wine or your favorite alcoholic beverage.

About Rachael

Rachael is the Co-founder of Aldi Reviewer. When she isn't busy shopping at Aldi, she enjoys cooking, gardening, writing gothic romance, and collecting more houseplants than she probably should. You can learn more about her at

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