Pomegranate Mulled Cider ~ and giving up alcohol

Pomegranate Mulled Cider is a delicately spiced, antioxidant rich, and delicious way to ring in the New Year ~ this healthy mocktail has helped me give up my daily drinking habit!

So I’ve made a pretty big change in my life lately ~ I’ve given up my nightly wine.  It’s definitely been challenging, but I feel really good about it.  Let me just say I didn’t realize how much I looked forward to the ritual of settling down at the end of the day with a couple of glasses of wine, and to be honest, it was the highlight of my day!

I made the decision after the latest round of news about the ill-effects of drinking came out last month. It’s been so confusing ~ I always thought red wine was supposed to be heart healthy, and that’s the story I clung to for years.  Now that the connection between alcohol and other health issues like cancer are coming into focus, especially for women, I decided to do a little research and reconsider my habits.

I was surprised to learn that what I considered to be light or moderate drinking was actually an unhealthy amount.  Especially since I’m a woman, and at 5’2″ a small one at that,  I learned that the alcohol in my nightly drink or two was affecting every cell in my body, and not in a good way.  Men and women metabolize alcohol differently, and women’s bodies don’t break it down as effectively.  It means that glass of wine is effecting me more powerfully and for a longer period of time than it does the guy sitting next to me with the same drink.  Totally unfair!

I figured I had a few choices ~ I could reduce the amount of alcohol I drank daily, I could give up alcohol entirely, or I could decide to drink only on social occasions, which is what I ultimately did.   I think it helps to be honest with yourself and pick a strategy that works with your personality and lifestyle.  I didn’t want the daily will power struggle of trying to keep to a very small glass of wine.  I didn’t want to give up drinking completely because it gives me a lot of pleasure and I do believe it can be healthy.  So for me, occasional social drinking seemed like a good compromise.

I didn’t make a big announcement about it to friends and family, I just quietly stopped one day and replaced my wine with water.  I’m not even sure my husband noticed right away.  I will admit that the water thing got old really quickly, and it hasn’t been a super easy process.  I still think about that glass of wine every evening at about 6:30.  But I’m really happy I followed through ~ it’s given me more energy, I feel more alert, and I sleep better.  My body tells me in a hundred ways that I made the right decision.

some tips to help you reduce or give up alcohol ~

  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated so you don’t turn to alcohol out of sheer thirst.
  • Find a substitute non alcoholic beverage to stand in for your cocktail so you can maintain your sipping routine.  It might be a mocktail, or a cozy after dinner latte.
  • Reward yourself with something small to take the place of your booze, I get myself a spoonful of Nutella after dinner :)
  • Brush your teeth ~ this is really effective!  I’ll brush earlier than usual and that helps to signal the end of the eating  ~ and drinking ~ day.
  • I make a ritual out of brewing a really good cup of coffee first thing in the morning and I look forward to it the night before.
  • It helps to do this with a buddy, if possible, I’ve teamed up with my sister.
  • Be clear about why you want to stop drinking…and remind yourself of it regularly to keep motivated.
  • Don’t be worried about false starts, it might take you a few tries to accomplish your goal.
  • Every little bit helps and even if you just give up drinking for a week or a month it gives your body a chance to detox and reset.  You’ll gain a valuable sense of control over your health, too.
  • Pat yourself on the back for having the resolve to change an unhealthy behavior.  Feeling good about yourself makes the effort easier.

Luckily there are other ways to get those good antioxidants that are present in red wine without the unhealthy ethanol…

  • pomegranates
  • cranberries
  • red and purple grapes
  • red, blue, and purple berries

all have high levels of heart healthy and cancer fighting superpowers so I’ve been experimenting with using them to make delicious non alcoholic drinks.   One of them is this hot Mulled Pomegranate Cider.  I’ll make up a batch, keep it in the fridge, and microwave a cup when I feel like it.

10 things to do with a pomegranate

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m still cooking with wine and I’ll still post cocktails and other alcohol related recipes ~ the key here at tvfgi is moderation, and that holds true for everything, including alcohol.  If the news improves on the health benefits of red wine any time soon, you’ll know where to find me ;)

Pomegranate Mulled Cider

Yield: 15 servings

Pomegranate Mulled Cider

Ingredients

  • 128 ounces apple cider
  • 16 ounces pure pomegranate juice
  • several sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • 10 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Put the juices in a large pot, or slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring up to a simmer. Turn down the heat and let steep for at least an hour.
  2. Strain before serving.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/pomegranate-mulled-cider-and-how-to-give-up-alcohol/

Here are some other anti-oxidant rich non-alcoholic drinks and mocktails ~

BLOOD ORANGE AND POMEGRANATE THYME SPRITZ

 

THE POMEGRANATE SIPPER

 

CROCK POT CRANBERRY CIDER

GREEN TEA LATTE

 

 

57 Comments

  • Reply
    Sonja
    January 10, 2018 at 3:44 am

    This looks wonderful. One question – do you strain out the spices before storing it in the fridge? I wonder if the taste of the spices would get too strong if you didn’t and it sat in the fridge for several days.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 10, 2018 at 7:05 am

      You can do it either way, but I strain them out, I do think it would get too strong for my taste if it sat with the spices.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    January 1, 2018 at 6:03 am

    Good for you Sue! I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions, but changing / developing better habits is always in the front of my mind. I don’t drink very often anymore, but have a love of sweets that needs to be stopped! Happy New Year my friend!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    December 31, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Such a gorgeous color, can’t wait to try this cider!

  • Reply
    Juli Meyers
    December 31, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    I don’t drink alcohol at all, I never have, so I’m always excited to find fun drinks that so include it. This one looks so inviting.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 1, 2018 at 4:59 am

      Thanks Juli!

  • Reply
    Liz
    December 31, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I only drink a glass of wine on occasion—maybe once a month max, but even that messes with my sleep! But I often grow tired of my decaf tea in the evening, so this mulled cider is a fabulous option. Happy New Year, Sue!!! xo

  • Reply
    Judy
    December 31, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I really appreciate alcohol-free drink recipes. I never drank much but have recently given it up entirely due to health issues. It really is not as hard as it might seem and the benefits are immense.

  • Reply
    Robyn Gleason
    December 31, 2017 at 4:34 am

    Love this post, Sue, and I’ve honestly been thinking of doing the same thing in the new year. It’s all for the same reasons – I am so much more productive when I haven’t had a couple cocktails the night before. Like you, I will have a social drink now and then but it’s time to cut out happy hour. You’ve given me the incentive and now I need to stick to it.
    Love this drink and it will be perfect for tonight’s party. Happy New Year to you and yours, friend!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    December 30, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    You are smart and brave Sue! Scott and I went 10 years without a drink and didn’t miss it. It’s so easy to let little habits sneak up on you and then become very difficult to break. I’m with you on the balance part though too, so important in all areas of life.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      You put it exactly right, those habits sneak up on you ~ it’s so important to stay alert.

  • Reply
    SallyBR
    December 30, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Sue, just made it… you will laugh.. well, I actually almost cried but it is funny…. after sieving it, I searched for a container since it made a lot – picked a pitcher, but it was non-pyrex… as I am carrying it from sink to countertop, it broke! It literally broke the bottom off, I got COVERED in hot cider, glass everywhere, cider on the rug… ;-) Oh, well – lesson learned…

    make sure to use Pyrex if the cider is still super hot… or you will end like me! ;-)

    (hubby is adorable… cleaned up most of the mess as I changed my clothes)…

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      OMG Sally!! I will be sure to update the recipe and remind everybody to cool it down before storing. Your husband sounds like a saint…try to have a relaxing night after all this (you’re going to need a glass of wine!)

  • Reply
    Barbara Ingaldson
    December 30, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Sue can you please give us a. Calories count per glass I will be making this and it’s so Positive and a new lifestyle thank you ! Barb

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      I just updated with that info, Barbara. Thanks!

    • Reply
      SallyBR
      December 30, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      no worries! I still had half left, so I can tell your readers it is AWESOME! And you know how I enjoyed it too? POured over ice, maybe 1/4 cup at the bottom of the glass, filled with carbonated water – excellent drink, the spices seem to come to life even more, which surprised me…

      thanks for a great drink recipe!

      • Reply
        Sue
        December 31, 2017 at 5:24 am

        Oh I’m so glad, I had such an awful vision of you scalded Sally! I love the idea of having it over ice, I wouldn’t have thought of that. Cheers :)

  • Reply
    Barbara Ingaldson
    December 30, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Sue I’m just going to make this you call for 128 0unces that’s 16 cups is that right and Congradulations! For posting and the positive action you have taken to be a healthier you ~ you inspired me this morning after I g reading your post as that too is do me thank you from The Okanagan Valley Oliver BC Canada

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Barbara ~ 128 ounces is 16 cups, but the amounts are very flexible, the main thing is to enhance the apple cider with pomegranate juice, and you can do that to taste. More or less pomegranate juice will work just fine. I’m so glad I was able to inspire you <3 ~ stay warm!

  • Reply
    Patricia Mitchell
    December 30, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Congrats to you on the wine. I too decided to challenge my thinking around drinking. First I didn’t judge myself, second I started with 30 days thanks to 30 days to cut your alcohol habit. Then my next stint was 90 days and finally January 8 will be a 120 day no alcohol break. Thx for sharing your tips

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      It sounds like you did it just right, Patricia, congrats! I love your point about not judging yourself…so important.

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    December 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Sue, you are a brave woman! I feel I am privileged hearing you reaching out at a turning point in your life. As for the pomegranate cider it does have a celebratory status. I wish you and your family a happy new year! To you!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks Alexandra ~ I’m looking forward to cooking up a fantastic 2018 :)

      • Reply
        Alexandra
        December 30, 2017 at 2:07 pm

        I am sure you will! Look forward to better eating!

  • Reply
    Bessie
    December 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Good for you . I have pretty much stoped also ,but I missed the day is done relaxing sir down drink. Water just wont do it I drink it all day. n I have now figured out that as long as I have my nice wine glass, I can put a good red or white JUICE in it and it is just as as relaxing and I don’t get sleepy Pomegranate is my fave

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      It’s definitely the relaxing effect that I crave too Bessie, and you’re right, water just doesn’t do it. I like your idea of using a wine glass to drink out of ~ smart!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    December 30, 2017 at 11:41 am

    I adore the colour! No alcohol…good for you, Sue. Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      The color just makes me happy…Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    Yolie
    December 30, 2017 at 10:58 am

    My son is addicted to alcohol and drugs. He has been in rehab, Caron, one of the best in the country. Thankfully he has been drug and alcohol free for nine months now. We went to family week at Caron and learned a lot! Do you know that using alcohol as a mood changer, enhancer or relaxer is actually a misuse of the drink? Do you know that looking forward to your next drink or placing importance on its presence in one’s life is also a warning sign? Alcohol should be consumed simply for itself, not for what it can deliver. If you have alcoholism in your family there is a chance that you have inherited the gene. But in the end, even if one doesn’t have the gene, repeated behavior rewires the neuro-pathways in the brain. It begins to look for the dopamine rush that it derives from the substance. It takes one year for the brain to rewire itself to form new pathways that deliver the rush of dopamine. That’s why it is a little challenging in the evenings right now. It’s going to take time not to miss it.
    Your decision to stop drinking is very sound. Good for you! I’m so glad because (forgive me!) some of the comments you’ve made on this post have red flags all over them. I would urge you, for your freedom’s sake, to consider abstaining completely. If that sounds like too much you may want to talk to a professional just to make sure you are truly okay. You are so truly gifted and I know, firsthand how those gifts can become compromised by this dreadful disease.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      So sorry about your son, Yolie, that’s a tremendous strain on a family. Here’s to his continued success with the battle in 2018, and thanks for the interesting information.

  • Reply
    Amy in Hunting Valley, OH
    December 30, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Good for you for making a positive change. I reduced my alcohol consumption too – I’ve found as I get older that I just can’t bounce back from a night out with a couple glasses of wine. So I limit myself to one when we go out, and I’ve found I really don’t miss it. More often than not I skip it as I’d rather spend the calories on dessert.

    Sue, I wish you all the best in 2018. Thanks for this blog – I think of you as my friend and enjoy each post. Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Thanks Amy, I think of my readers as friends, too <3

  • Reply
    Jill
    December 30, 2017 at 9:45 am

    There were a few years that I’d finish a whole bottle of wine a night. I’m still in the weaning phase but I’m definitely drinking less than I was and feeling better for it. I agree with the substitute idea. Usually I have flavored seltzer water but I’m going to try this recipe because I love the sound of all the spices in it. Great post!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      I’m glad this resonated with you Jill. I think finding the right type of non-alcoholic drink is a tough one…I’m still working on that. Seltzer water is good but not quite enough for me, and fruit juice is often too sweet, so I’m still experimenting.

  • Reply
    Margaret
    December 30, 2017 at 9:34 am

    After my husband died I found drinking alone was not much fun, so I quit. I had a glass of white wine on Christmas day and found I no longer like the taste of it. I tend to mix fruit with water and drink that. I just made your beef and barley soup, it is minus 18 celsius here, so a good day for soup, it was delicious. Have a wonderful New Year. I love your recipes.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Interesting, sometimes our bodies just know what to do, and they guide us. I’m so glad you enjoyed the beef barley soup, that’s perfect for this deep freeze!

  • Reply
    Darlene
    December 30, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Off the subject I wanted to let you know I tried your gingerbread recipe and I have to say it beat out the one I’ve been using since childhood! Just the right amount of cloves and so soft on the inside. I made snowmen and rather than icing I used melted chocolate and coconut for the stencil face and scarf! A big hit and now I have a new recipe for years to come! Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      I’m thrilled that the gingerbread worked for you, I do think it’s pretty perfect, I like the texture and the soft spices a lot. I can remember very hard, sharply spicy gingerbread from past years and I think this one is such an improvement.

  • Reply
    Donna
    December 30, 2017 at 8:11 am

    I like to add a little kombucha to my wine! Makes it like a spritzer. This cider sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 8:15 am

      I have to admit, I’ve never had kombucha, I need to get on board.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    December 30, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Is cider different over there? Here in England most cider is alcoholic? (Similar alcohol content to beer), liked the sound of the recipe but any suggestions to what I could substitute? Pressed apple juice?

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Yes, what we call cider is basically unfiltered apple juice. We call the alcoholic version ‘hard cider’. So pressed apple juice would be just the thing to use.

  • Reply
    MaryAlice Grinder
    December 30, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Hi there – I really applaud you for making this new decision! Good for you! I imagine it will take some great perseverence to change this habit…..I have been having a rather long discussion with myself on this same subject! Am still waffling on it, though!
    Best wishes for you! Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 7:41 am

      I’d been ‘waffling’ about it for years ;) Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    Beth Walters
    December 30, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Sounds really yummy. I, too, enjoy that nightly glass (especially after a very long and stressful day at work), however alcoholism tends to run in families and several of my mom’s relatives had problems, so I am very conscious of my alcohol intake and often don’t have a drink just to make sure I still can. This sounds like a good alternative.
    I’m allergic to cloves though. Leave them out and don’t replace them with anything? Add more of something else? What would you suggest?
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 7:35 am

      Interesting that you mentioned not having a drink occasionally just to make sure you can do it ~ that’s so smart. We have some alcoholism in our family tree, too, and you’re right, that helps to keep us on our toes about our habits. As for the cloves, just leave them out, the rest of the spices will do the job. Thanks Beth!

  • Reply
    Deanna
    December 30, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Mmmm this looks absolutely to die for! Love this!!! This great tips for anything you need to reduce or need to give up :)

  • Reply
    Heather Johnson
    December 30, 2017 at 7:23 am

    I don’t drink – so thanks for sharing a non-alcoholic recipe

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 7:25 am

      Check out the list at the bottom of the post, too, Heather, there are a ton of really great non-alcoholic recipes out there!

  • Reply
    SallyBR
    December 30, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Music to my ears… I would love to share with you something I published on my blog exactly one year ago

    https://bewitchingkitchen.com/2016/12/29/the-complicit-conspiracy-of-alcohol/

    so like you, I’ve debated for quite some time what is the best strategy – like you, I feel that alcohol does more harm than good to my body, I am only 5 ft tall – and for all reasons stated in my article, I feel there is indeed a huge amount of pressure in our society to associate drinking with fun.

    I quit for a few months last year – 2016 – from November until March next year. Then did the “weekend only thing” – and now since October I’ve been alcohol-free and not sure if I’ll drink again or not. Honestly, I feel so much better without, it’s hard to justify going back. I am always on the look out for alternatives – easier to do in the summer than in the winter, that’s for sure, so maybe we can help each other sharing real mocktail gems when we do stumble upon one?

    I am saving your post and suggestions…

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 7:22 am

      I do think this is on a lot of people’s minds, Sally, especially among women. And I agree, it’s easier to find fun non-alcoholic drinks in the summer, there are so many great fruity mocktails out there. That’s probably why I had to resort to my spoonful of Nutella to get me through ;) Happy New Year!

  • Reply
    Amy @ Little Dairy on the Prairie
    December 30, 2017 at 6:39 am

    This is so pretty! I love the ingredients you have in there!

  • Reply
    Katie Crenshaw
    December 30, 2017 at 6:21 am

    This looks so pretty and tasty. This is a healthy way to warm up in these cold months. Yum!

  • Reply
    cakespy
    December 30, 2017 at 4:46 am

    Love it!! Thanks for sharing your decision with us and explaining your proactive measures to improve your health. I really appreciate how you’re approaching your decision not to drink from that standpoint rather than one of self-denial. And what great tips for changing your lifestyle – they could really be applied to any food change someone wants to make!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2017 at 5:33 am

      I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right, this applies to any food change…I’ll have to work on my Nutella habit next ;)

      • Reply
        Maggie
        December 30, 2017 at 4:19 pm

        Am I right that Nutella contains transfats? Several years ago I kept hearing how great Nutella is. I read the ingredients and never bought it. Am I wrong about this, maybe remembering wrong? Or maybe they took the transfats out of it since then?

        • Reply
          Sue
          December 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm

          No, I have no illusions about Nutella being healthy, Maggie, that’s for sure. I’m just being honest about what I had to do to distract myself from getting a glass of wine :) I think Nutella is fine in small amounts, but not the healthiest food on the planet, no doubt about that. I’ve got a recipe for homemade Nutella on the blog that I’m planning on updating one of these days, here: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/homemade-dark-chocolate-nutella/

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