The Case for Free Refills and Summer Sangria

In a somewhat ironic turn of flight cancellations and delays (given number 4 in the last post) I arrived home safely in KC on a U.S. Airways flight, sans maggots, to celebrate the holiday weekend with my friends and family.  In preparation for my friend’s engagement party/ annual Independence Day extravaganza, I set out to make sangria.


Walking into a Midwest grocery store is always somewhat of a shocking experience after living in the bodega, mini-cart grocery world of NYC, but luckily my sangria mission kept me focused—fruit and Sprite. After I gathered the freshest fruits of the land- nectarines, raspberries and strawberries, I journeyed down the pop (soda for you Eastern folk) aisle. Lo and behold next to the Sprite and Diet Coke was a sale sign that said $1.49 for a 2-liter bottle. ONE DOLLAR AND FORTY-NINE CENTS.

Allow me to explain why this is so significant. Across the street from my old apartment was one of the greatest Russian-mob-run diners in Manhattan.  These waiters primarily saw us at our worst: early Sunday mornings in dire need of a festival of carbohydrates and bottomless supply of coffee.  I don’t drink much pop anymore, (coconut water and Vitamin Water, please), but every so often I need a jolt of Diet Coke after I have exhausted the bottomless coffee mug service. On one such Sunday, amid socializing and re-hydration, I proceeded to order three Diet Cokes throughout the course of our brunch. When the bill came I was appalled to discover that I was charged for three Diet Cokes at $3 each!  Coming from the Midwest land of free refills and the decency to tell you that you’re spending an omelette’s worth on carbonated sugar-free molasses, this was downright unacceptable!

So here I stand in the middle of the pop aisle of my KC suburban grocery store, where I can now buy 67 ounces of Diet Coke for $1.49, I realize my $9 diner blunder would have essentially bought me 402 ounces of Diet Coke—compared to a lousy 24 ounces at the diner, with ice and a straw.  So it goes, getting NYC’d.

Summer Sangria

As for the sangria- it rocked. For a summery sangria blanca, I use the easiest recipe imaginable. Take your white wine of choice, Sauvignon Blanc for me, and add equal part Sprite/ Diet Sprite—this means if you use one bottle of wine then add one liter of Sprite. Then take rum, or whatever liquor you have on hand, and pour 5 seconds worth of it in the mix (literally pour and count to five, trust me on this one). Add the freshest fruits you have (when in doubt, buy what is on sale as it is usually what is in season), cube em up and add to the mix. Right now nectarines, raspberries and strawberries are all cheap and vibrantly fresh.  Throw in a cinnamon stick if you have one. Let stew for 30 minutes and serve over ice!


One Response to “The Case for Free Refills and Summer Sangria”

  1. Living in the Midwest, I enjoyed this post, even though I don’t drink Diet Coke. MMW

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