Missing apple cider? Try mulled wine instead.

I have a confession to make: I am an apple cider-holic. Seriously. It's been my favorite drink (holiday or not) since I was a kid. Egg nog is a close second, but we're not here to talk about that today. Back to the cider.

My love for cider only grew over the years as I tried mulled cider for the first time, and then even more when I learned that apple cider is the PERFECT complement to bourbon, my drink of choice. Mulled apple cider + bourbon?! One way ticket to heaven.

Unfortunately, apple cider is pretty much out on a low carb diet. Any way you slice it, apple cider naturally has waaaay too much sugar (from the apples) to even try to fit into a keto lifestyle.* Although you can keto-fy most things, such as my beloved egg nog, this isn't quite one of them. So what's an apple cider lover to do?

Answer: drink mulled wine. Hear me out: I know that it doesn't taste anything like apple cider. However, the spices in mulled wine embody the same spirit of apple cider—warm, comforting, and evocative of the holiday season. And there's keto-friendly alcohol included. What's not to love? 

If you've never tried mulled wine, I encourage you to give this a try. If you like red wine, you'll love this. If you don't like red wine, there's a good chance you'll still love it. If not, feel free to come back and yell at me in the comments ;)

Warning: this recipe is going to make your house smell delicious. You can make this in either a saucepan on the stove or a slow cooker—I recommend a slow cooker if you're making this for a party as the smell will keep everyone happy, and the wine will stay warm for the duration of the event.

Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, as they are lowest in carbs. I like a good Three Buck Chuck from Trader Joe's for this recipe!)
  • Peel from one orange
  • 3 tbsp mulling spice blend (sold at gourmet markets or often found in the gourmet food section at TJ Maxx and Marshall's) OR 8 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 star anise pods
  • 1/4 cup monkfruit sweetener (I like Lakanto Golden for this) (optional)
  • 1/4 cup brandy (optional)

Tools

  • Saucepan or slow cooker
  • Tea ball (optional)

Method

  1. Put spices in tea ball (if using) and combine all ingredients in saucepan or slow cooker. If using a saucepan, heat over medium: be careful not to let mixture come to a boil, or else you lose all the alcohol! If using a slow cooker, set slow cooker to low.
  2. Let wine mull for 20-30 mins, stirring occasionally. If using a slow cooker, switch heat to the "keep warm" setting to, well, keep the wine warm until it's gone (which won't be long).
  3. Strain, serve, and enjoy!

This is a favorite in The Glow Getter household, and hopefully it will become one at yours too. If you try it, let me know!

*I do, of course, make exceptions for anything if I'm feeling like I have to have them. And you should too! Life isn't meant to be spent constantly yearning for things you love. Just have your little taste of what you've been craving and keep it moving!