Canned Cocktails

Canned cocktails.

This past weekend, I had cocktails with a friend and her husband. My friend’s husband asked me what I was drinking, and when I told him I was having Tito’s and soda with lime, he asked me if I had tried High Noon..

High Noon? When I told him I had no idea what he was talking about, he explained, “It’s vodka and soda in a can.” He then went on to tell me that it’s so popular that stores have trouble keeping it in stock. Wow! It must be good! And now that I know it’s hard to find, I have a mission! I’m one of those people who loves a good challenge…and now my challenge is to find High Noon somewhere in the Charlotte area.

And that conversation made me think about other canned cocktails I’ve heard about recently. The whole “cocktails in a can” thing is a new to me. I know people have been drinking “hard seltzer” for a while, and maybe there have been others out there for a while. I’ve tried “hard seltzer,” and it’s definitely not for me. Lots of folks love them, I know, but Im not one of those people. So now I’m looking for different canned cocktails to try, and here are some I have found:

Jim Beam Cola. This is one I’ve actually tried. When I was at the beach at the end of July, my friend purchased some of these. We chilled them and decided to try them before dinner. As soon as I took my first sip, I said to her, “Holy smokes! It tastes like a college football game!” She laughed and agreed. We went to college together in the 80s, and back in the day, we would sneak bottles or flasks of bourbon into the stadium to mix with sodas purchased at the game. Often we mixed it with Coca Cola, because that’s what was being sold by vendors walking through the stands. I could drink all that sweetness when I was in college, but no more. If you’re into sugary cocktails, this one might be for you. Or maybe if you just want to think about football games. See the website here.

Spa Girl Vodka Cocktails. This is one I want to try soon. Spa Girl offers flavored vodka canned cocktails with only 48 calories per serving! Honestly, though, I can’t tell exactly what these are. Do you drink them straight from the can? It just says “flavored vodka,” but I’m guessing there is club soda in there too (maybe?), because it’s only 33 proof. No self-respecting vodka would be just 16.5 percent alcohol, so I’m guessing it’s mixed with soda in the can. They offer three flavors: cucumber, pear, and peach. I really want to try the peach flavor. The website offers some great-looking recipes too…you can see that here.

Bartles and Jaymes Premium Wine Coolers. OK, this one takes me back…straight to the 80s. When I was young, I enjoyed Bartles and Jaymes Wine Coolers. It was an easy way to have a lighter drink. I haven’t had them in years, but now that I know they are making them, I’m excited to try them again. Back in “the day,” they only came in bottles, but now that they come in cans, you can drink them at more places. No one wants to take bottles anywhere, and often, they aren’t allowed around pools or beaches. Sure, we will be moving into fall soon, but I live in the south, so we likely can keep sitting by the pool through September…and maybe into October. I hope to get some of these and share them with my neighbor by the pool this week. See the website here.

And there are more! Bluemarble offers a Bloody Mary in a can! Who knew? Conniption American Dry offers a canned Gin & Tonic…I have a friend who will be happy to hear that! And Malibu (the rum company) is now offering Malibu Smash canned cocktails…doesn’t a passion fruit and coconut rum cocktail sound fabulous??? Sign me up!

While some things about life seem to get more and more difficult (wearing masks everywhere we go, social distancing, more traffic everywhere we go), at least our cocktails are becoming easier! We don’t even have to mix them anymore!

BYOB and meet me by the pool!

I’m Fixin’ To Do It

Growing up in the south, “fixing’ to” never sounded strange to me. But as a freshman at The University of Alabama in 1985, I learned that people in other parts of the country never say it. In fact, it sounds strange to them. They had no idea what it meant. There were several girls on my dorm hall from different states…Illinois, Alaska, Delaware…and they all found it amusing that folks in the Deep South say “fixin’ to” when speaking of something they are about to do.

Recently, I was at my daughter’s field hockey game, and the older sister of one of the players was there. She is now a student at an Ivy League school but was home for a few days, and while she was talking with someone else I heard her say she was “fixin’ to” do something. I couldn’t resist. I asked her, “Do people at your school think it’s odd that you say that?” She laughed. In fact, she said people at her school have a hard time figuring out where she’s from, because she switches up her dialect on them.

I’ve always had an interest in dialects. I’m no linguist, but I take great pride in deciphering the intricacies of different dialects within regions and around the country.

I grew up in Alabama, and even within that state, there are different dialects. I won’t even try to break it all down, but trust me when I say you can tell what part of the state someone is from by how they pronounce certain words. Times are changing, and I’m afraid the southern accent will soon be lost, but here are some things we said when I was growing up…things I think are straight out of the south:

  • Y’all. No surprise here. I don’t know anyone who grew up in the south who doesn’t say “y’all.” For those of you who don’t know, it’s short for “you all.” Someone might ask, “Where are y’all from?” But if a big group is involved, someone might ask, “Are all y’all going?”
  • Coke. If you grew up calling soft drinks “sodas” or “pops,” you’ll likely find this funny. I think it will likely phase out with the homogenization of America, but when I was growing up, we called all soft drinks “Coke.” If I were at a baseball game and decided to to the concession stand, I would ask my friends, “Can I get anybody a Coke?” One would likely respond, “Yes! I’ll have a Sprite!” And another might respond, “Yes! Dr. Pepper please!” It was a Deep South thing…not all over the south. Now I’m wondering if folks in Alabama, Mississippi, and the Florida Panhandle still do that. Anyone?
  • Buggy. What comes to mind when you see/hear that word? If you’re from anywhere but the Deep South, you likely think of a form of transportation that’s pulled by horses. But if you’re from the Deep South, you think of the thing you put groceries into at the store. Called a “shopping cart” or “cart” in other parts of the country, we always called it a “buggy” when I was growing up. We’d walk into the grocery store, and Mama would say, “Get a buggy, please.”
  • Tennis shoes. In other parts of the country, athletic shoes are referred to as sneakers. In the south, they’re “tennis shoes.” Even if they’re not really for tennis, lots of southerners tend to call them “tennis shoes.” It can be confusing.
  • Dressing. Years ago, when my daughter was four or five, I was talking with a friend who grew up in Boston about what a picky eater my daughter was. In conversation, I said, “She won’t even eat dressing!” My friend from Boston asked, “Does she eat salad?” And then I remembered…the stuff you eat with turkey on Thanksgiving is called “stuffing” everywhere except the south. In the south, we call it “dressing.” And cornbread dressing is my personal favorite!
  • Ink pen. This one is not so common anymore, but back in the day, in the Deep South, people would say, “May I borrow your ink pen?” Yes, it’s redundant, because pens, by definition, contain ink. However, I think it was said in the south, because with a southern accent, “pen” and “pin” sound very similar. Putting “ink” before the word “pen” helped differentiate. Whereas, up north (said “nawuth” by lots of southerners, like my mother, may she Rest In Peace), you can clearly hear the difference in the prononciation of the two words.

And since I mentioned my mother, when my now-15-yr-old daughter was youner, she thought it was so funny that my mother said “nawuth,” “enjaweh” (enjoy), “baweh” (boy), and more.

There are lots more words and phrases we use in the south, but those are just a few. Add in our accents, and you might not understand a word we say…bless your heart! Which reminds me…”bless your heart” can be an expression of sympathy, or it can be catty, depending on the tone. You can get more information about that here.

Before closing, I want to add one more thing. Everyone from the south is not from Alabama, but Alabama fans often use “Roll Tide” (the University of Alabama’s rally cry) as a greeting. No, everyone in Alabama doesn’t do it, because not everyone in the state is a fan of The University of Alabama, but fans who know one another greet each other with “Roll Tide”! Or when something great happens for someone, they might exclaim, “Roll Tide!” But one thing to know…if you are going to wear t-shirts, hoodies, or hats with The University of Alabama symbols on it, be prepared for folks to say “Roll Tide!” when they pass you. You must say it back. If I’m in a Target in Wisconsin, and I see someone wearing an Alabama hoodie, I exclaim, “Roll Tide!” But if I don’t get a “Roll Tide” in return, I think, “If you’re going to wear the shirt, you have to know the lingo…bless your heart.”

 

Cheers to Cheerwine

You don’t know what Cheerwine is? Well, I didn’t either till I moved to North Carolina.

I got married in 2000 and loaded up all my belongings in a U-Haul truck, taking them all to my new home with my new husband in Charlotte, North Carolina.

When I moved to Charlotte, I found a beautiful city with lots of green spaces and lovely people. I was thrilled to be living in a bigger city that, at the time, was a hub for USAirways. USAirways has since merged with American Airlines, so our hub is even better now. Charlotte is jam packed with stuff to do…NFL games, NBA games, minor league baseball, museums, a large amusement park, NASCAR, and more.

After moving to Charlotte, I was also introduced to Cheerwine, a cherry-flavored soft drink bottled in Salisbury, a small town located just northeast of Charlotte, and I loved it. The first question I had about it might be the same question you have: does it contain alcohol? Even though the word “wine” is in the name of the drink, there is no alcohol in Cheerwine. The only cherry-flavored soda I’d ever had prior to Cheerwine was Cherry Coke, which has more of a cola base with a little cherry thrown in. And maybe Dr. Pepper? Do people think it has some cherry flavor? It’s good, but it’s not really a cherry soda. I had enjoyed cherry Icees over the years, but Cheerwine was something different.

On their website, which you can see here, they call themselves “the south’s unique cherry soft drink.” Unique? Indeed…and in a good way! According to the website, it was created in Salisbury, North Carolina, by a gentleman named L.D. Peeler in 1917. That’s over 100 years of Cheerwine! You can read all about the history of the refreshing beverage on their website. In the early 1970s, they introduced Diet Cheerwine, which is actually my favorite, because I just don’t enjoy beverages with real sugar. Lots of people love the original recipe, but I’m a Diet Cheerwine fan all the way. *Don’t preach to me about artificial sweeteners. It will fall on deaf ears.*

Folks in North Carolina are proud of Cheerwine, and lots of folks grew up drinking it. Whenever I think of things that are uniquely representative of the Carolinas, Cheerwine is at the top of list…right up there with college basketball and NASCAR. If you haven’t tried Cheerwine, you should. You can order it online, shipped directly to your home, from cheerwine.com here.

From their site, you can also order Cheerwine apparel, merchandise, and sauces. Most importantly, you can find recipes for cakes, barbecue sauces, and cocktails. There’s a recipe for a Cheerwine southern bundt cake that looks especially appealing to me. I find myself thinking about that cake pretty regularly. I’m going to just have to break down and make one.

And to top it all off, in addition to having the south’s unique cherry soft drink, fun merchandise, apparel, and recipes, Cheerwine has a summer contest going on right now. You can win a vacation getaway! For more information, click here. Who knows, maybe Cheerwine will send you to Asheville, The Outer Banks, or Charleston! You’ll have to take some pics with Cheerwine and put the appropriate hashtag on social media. If you don’t have Cheerwine, you can order it from the website and get started on that contest!

Cheers to Cheerwine!