Sugar-free recipes for hot drinks

Nov 5, 2008 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Baby, it's cold outside… Warm up with tasty but sugar-free hot drinks sure to chase away the chill.

Woman Drinking Hot Chocolate

Anyone who grew up appreciably north (or south) of the equator knows how wonderful a mug of hot cocoa is on a cool day. Now, just because we're all grown up (and eating better than we did in the old sugar-laden days) doesn't mean we can't enjoy a mugful of warm, sweet comfort. With all the sugar-free drink mixes, sweeteners, syrups and flavorings on the market, the possible combinations are limitless. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Basic Low-Carb Cocoa

Serves 1

Cocoa, even the plain stuff, is relatively high in carbs, but they're offset by its high fiber content.

1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa (cocoa only – no sugar added)
2 to 3 packets Splenda
2/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup cream

Combine cocoa and Splenda in large mug. Add hot water to mug until about 2/3 full. Add cream.

For variety, try one or more of the following add-ins:

· 1/4 teaspoon of mint, orange, berry, vanilla or almond extract
· Sprinkling of cinnamon, cocoa powder or nutmeg
· 2 teaspoons (or more) of strong coffee
· 1 ounce liquor, such as vodka or brandy

Hot Lemon Toddy

Serves 1

1 cup Crystal Light lemonade, prepared with water as directed
1 ounce brandy or rum

Heat lemonade in microwave on high for one minute. Add brandy or rum and enjoy. Feels good on a sore throat!

Hot Mulled Wine

Serves 4 to 6

1 bottle dry red wine
12 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Rind of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 orange
2 tablespoons Splenda or stevia

Combine all ingredients in large pot and simmer over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Serve in mugs.

Low-carb Grog

Serves 1

1 ounce rum
1 teaspoon brown sugar substitute*
1/8 teaspoon lime juice
Cinnamon stick
1 drop orange extract
Boiling water

Combine all ingredients, adding enough boiling water to fill mug. Serve.

*To make your own brown sugar substitute, combine 1 cup Splenda with 1/4 cup sugar-free maple-flavored syrup. This can be used to replace 1 cup brown sugar in baking and cooking.

Brandy Toddy

Serves 1

2 ounces brandy
1 teaspoon Splenda (or 1 packet)
Dash nutmeg
Lemon slice
Boiling water

Fill mug 2/3 full with boiling water. Add all other ingredients and stir.

Hot Buttered Rum

Serves 1

4 cloves
1 ounce light rum
1 teaspoon Splenda (or 1 packet)
Boiling water
1/2 teaspoon butter

Combine cloves, rum, Splenda and enough boiling water to fill mug. Drop in butter and serve.

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