It’s frighteningly easy to take those things that have always been there for granted. Let me tell you, moving abroad is a great reality check. And the craziest bit, the things you really get a hankering for and miss when you are on the other side of the world, will be things you didn’t really realize were that important to you. For example, I assure you Oreos and Cheez-its were not in my weekly shop when I was growing up. They were an occasional whim not a staple of my American diet. Yet when I moved abroad I missed them desperately. Enough so, that I would fill my luggage at holidays with these nostalgic foodstuffs.
Another item I missed was actually one that I didn’t have a heck of a lot of time to get to know. I was only 24 when I relocated to Glasgow for my degree, but one thing that became a little niggling miss of home was wine coolers. I’ll admit I am not much of a drinker, and a Shirley Temple is usually my drink of choice. Yet here I was in a place of ales, beers and millions of whiskeys, to which I was saying ‘Ëœpass’ to. My friends back home were disgusted; one even saying my lack of appreciation meant I shouldn’t have been there at all. I ducked my head in apology when he said that, but what could I do? The only thing I liked back home had been wine coolers, with their sticky sweetness and a tiny drop of wine. And wine coolers were not on offer on the little British isle.
As I initiated a search for my beloved Bartles amp; James tropical punch wine coolers, I did try a range of what was on offer in the UK. It’s worth noting that tropical punch flavored things haven’t quite made it to the UK in the same style they have in the US. I have had the joy of blueberry, watermelon and black current alco-pops; but it just wasn’t the same. As time progressed, the search yielded little. I eventually caved and hunted for a recipe for a DIY alternative.
The recipes are numerous and I pretty much have fruit based wine coolers down to a tee. This works spectacularly for the fruity rainbow from blueberry wine coolers to imitation lightweight pina coladas.
The easiest way to DIY your wine coolers is to take the ‘Ëœequal parts’ approach, as you are able to vary it to make as much or as little as you need. Therefore, get a pitcher or even an ice-filled glass and add the following:
White wine (preferably a Zinfandel or Chardonnay) 7-up or any other lemon amp; lime soda Fruit juice (any you can think of) Mini umbrellas and colored straws (optional)
I can recommend that peach juice is perfect for this, and I can never pass up a tangerine juice wine cooler. These are both a great liquid escape from the summer heat.
So, I think we can call that mission accomplished, as the range of flavors is only limited by your imagination. But I know you are wondering how we can tackle that gaping void that is my favorite wine cooler. Sure you can cheat and spike any tropical punch soda you can find but I have a better, though still cheeky suggestion. Cheeky, because it means pairing up with another American product. Though this one is a bit more postal and luggage-toting friendly. Of course, I mean no other than Kool-aid. The drink powder in the tiny sachet that is great for kids, yarn dying, tie=dying and now wine cooler. And in my case, all it took was my sister posting me a few sachets and I was set for ages. I could be in the tropics at a moment’s notice no matter how far the physical journey might be. Though before you dive head first in an artificial colored, Kool-aid based wine cooler of happiness, don’t forget one key element. If you use the small Kool-aid sachets, remember that they are sugarless (hence why they are so small) and remember to spike your drink with enough sugar to balance out the flavor. Otherwise, sit back, relax and enjoy because drinks are on me.