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

 

 

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58 Comments

  • Reply
    Inger @ Art of Natural Liivng
    July 6, 2018 at 6:45 am

    When I cut back (about 3 years ago–my goal is to limit to 2x/week), I got a soda stream which helped with my alternative rewards! And I also tested a ton of alcohol free beer to find what I liked best. Can’t wait until pomegranate season to try your recipe!

  • 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 :)

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