You guys, it fucking snowed this weekend. SNOWED. One second it was 65, bluebird skies and beautiful fall colors, and the next it was fucking freezing ass cold and I was walking my dog in snow boots. FUCK. THIS. And welcome to Colorado, where we have all four seasons, but fall is like 1.5 days so don’t blink or you’ll miss it.
I’ve been insisting for weeks that I’m not ready for winter (and truly, I’m not), but I’ve also been preparing for the change of seasons by stocking up on the AMAZING BOUNTY that Trader Joe’s offers in everything pumpkin flavored, ordering sugar free pumpkin pie syrup and apple cider EVERYTHING, and, naturally, stalking TJ Maxx looking for dog costumes. I’ve also been hard at work researching fall-themed beverages, because I plan to booze it up in style while also carbing up in preparation for my 2.5-month hibernation (don’t tell my Orangetheory gym), where I like to hide in my house in order to avoid psychotic Christmas shoppers. The only time of year I feel as though I can legitimately sport my office ass is between now and New Years, and I take that job seriously.
It turns out that the holidays don’t favor diabetics (color us surprised), and finding recipes, and alternate ingredients, that are not pure sugar or extremely high carb has been harder than expected. Good thing I like a challenge.
Not gonna lie, I didn’t find much to work with on the drink recipe front. When researching “low sugar fall themed drinks” I found a lot of quote unquote “low carb” apple cider recipes. It was rather confusing. Do people not know what sugar is or where it comes from? However, I did learn a few things. Fall-themed drinks tend to favor the following flavors: apple cider (or anything apple in general), cranberry, pomegranate, vanilla, caramel, pumpkin/pie, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. They also seem to favor heavier liquors, like bourbon, dark rum, and flavored vodkas, as well as creams, and hot bases, like tea and coffee. This can make fall flavor combinations a little tricky, since it’s not always easy to find low carb or perfect alternatives for some of the key flavors – but not impossible. And, the higher fat content in some of the drinks can be a plus, since fat absorbs more slowly, giving insulin time to get to work on any associated sugars in the drink.
Amazon’s whack shipping system screwed me a tad last week, so I’ve decided I’ll share my fall recipes in two phases since my sugar free apple cider mix is still somewhere in the middle of the country. (And also, just the fact that I had to order sugar-free apple cider mix online should tell you something about diabetes and fall).
Because of the limited recipe options, I actually concocted my own drink for the first recipe, and then used a recipe I ended up tweaking for the second drink.
The “Old Fashioned” Caramel Apple Toddy (6 carbs)
*This beverage resulted in a net zero BG affect for me; there was some sugar in the flavored whiskey but the acidity of the bitters and lemon, plus the consumption of alcohol kept any rise minimal.
Ingredients (makes one beverage):
- 1 oz Apple Whiskey
- 1.5 oz Bourbon (get the good shit for this drink)
- 0.5 oz Sugar-Free Salted Caramel Torani syrup
- 3-4 drops Angostura bitters
- Squeeze in a couple of fresh lemon slices
- Cinnamon stick for flavor
- Large ice cube (I have sphere molds but a square mold would work just fine)
- Measure whiskey, bourbon, Torani and bitters into small glass. Mix.
- Add large spherical ice cube (they have a larger surface area, and thus melt more slowly and won’t make your drink taste like melted water)
- Squeeze lemon slices over mixture and ice cube.
- Stir drink with cinnamon stick. You can leave it in if you like a stronger cinnamon flavor, or remove for future use after a few stirs.
Pumpkin Pie Martini (Though I’m calling it Halloween Eggnog in my head) (17 carbs)
*This drink caused a moderate rise in my BG after consumption, but I was also eating these pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies while I was making the drinks, so that may have had something to do with it (ya think?). This is not a perfectly controlled experiment… what can I say.
Normally I’d credit the person who provided inspiration for this recipe, but I had to make a lot of tweaks because I thought their recipe was a little nasty. So, I’ll just say this is like 50% a D4D original.
Ingredients (makes two martinis):
- 2 oz vodka (again, go with the good stuff – I had some Tito’s left over from the previous round of martinis so I used that). For the record, the original recipe actually called for vanilla vodka, but those can be very sugary, so I used good vodka and added vanilla extract to capture the flavor.
- 1.5 oz dark rum
- 0.5 oz Sugar Free Torani pumpkin pie syrup
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp half & half (the original recipe called for heavy cream and I didn’t have any handy; half & half seemed to do the trick for me)
- 3/4 cup skim milk (or milk type of your preference – I can’t stand heavy milks or creams so I try to go as light as possible)
- Optional: 1 squeeze liquid Stevia or similar if not sweet enough
- Optional: A couple shakes of pumpkin pie spice if you really want to up your pumpkin ante
- Optional: some crushed nuts and Stevia crystals to rim the glass (that was too much work for me so I skipped it)
- Combine vodka, rum, syrup, pumpkin, half & half, and milk in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to ensure pumpkin puree distributes evenly in the liquid.
- Pour equal amounts of liquid into martini glasses.
- Shake small amount of pumpkin pie spice over the drinks for garnish.