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!

Mulled Pomegranate Cider in a mason jar with rosemary sprig

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!

Mulled Pomegranate Cider in a large white pot with ladle

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 ๐Ÿ™‚
  • 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.
Non-alcoholic mulled pomegranate cider in mason jars

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

3.86 from 34 votes

Pomegranate Mulled Cider

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!
Course beverage
Cuisine American
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 15 servings
Calories 134kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 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


  • 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.
  • Strain before serving.


Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 330mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 4IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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





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  • Reply
    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
      December 30, 2017 at 8:15 am

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

  • Reply
    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
      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
      December 30, 2017 at 7:41 am

      I’d been ‘waffling’ about it for years ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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
      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
    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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

    • Reply
      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
    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


    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…


    • Reply
      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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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
    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
      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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Reply
        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
          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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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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