Tuesday, August 11, 2020

How to Make a Virgin Sangria, Survive a Hurricane, and Amuse Your Cat by Cleo Coyle

From Cleo CoyleSo far the summer of 2020 has brought us a pandemic, unrest in the streets, great white sharks lurking off our New York City-area beaches, miserable heat waves, and (last week) a hurricane. 

Here in our Queens neighborhood, winds were clocked at 75 mph, which resulted in the dangerous downing of trees. After the weather snapped countless trunks, I snapped a few photos, as you can see below.

Because of so many felled trees, like the ones pictured above, thousands of people in our area are still without power, refrigeration, or air conditioning with yet another "heat advisory" issued today. 

Four words come to mind for keeping one's sanity. THIS TOO WILL PASS. The saying is as old as ever, and as true as ever. Our little Broadway Annie sang it this way: "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow. You're always a day away." (We wish Broadway's re-opening were too.) 

In the meantime, while we await the next crisis, here's a little musical theater pick-me-up. Below is a sweet flashback video of actress Andrea McCardle performing the song "Tomorrow" from the musical ANNIE at the 1981 Tony Awards. 

(Video courtesy YouTube.)

Click the arrow in the window above to enjoy the "Tomorrow" video.
If you don't see a window, click here to view it on YouTube.


Okay, now that we've cheered ourselves up, it's time to cool ourselves off (in more ways than one). If you're feeling hot under the collar, you are not alone. We have at least one solution for you: a wonderfully refreshing and hydrating recipe, especially for a sweltering summer day like this one. 

To download this recipe in a free 
PDF that you can print, save, 
or share, click here.

Click here for free recipe PDF.

A Recipe Note from Cleo 

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
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Why virgin? A white wine sangria is delicious, but on a workday, I prefer that my fingers hit my laptop keyboard rather than my forehead, which means no firewater until the day is done.

A virgin sangria is also a good idea for households with kids because it can be converted into an adult beverage at the time it's poured, which means one pitcher can conveniently serve drinkers and non-drinkers.

Cleo Coyle's Virgin Sangria

Makes 2 quarts


- 1 (11.5 fluid ounce) can of frozen white grape juice concentrate (We like to use Welch's 100% white grape juice, with no added sugar)

- 1 quart bottled or sparkling water

- 2 cups sliced strawberries

- 4 to 5 peaches or nectarines, chopped

- 2 cups chopped watermelon

MIX IT: Empty concentrate into your pitcher or container and stir in the water. When the concentrate is melted into a smooth liquid, add in the fruit. Stir well, cover, and chill for several hours or overnight. The fruit will fortify the white grape juice, making it refreshingly delicious. It will also blush the color from an unappetizing dark yellow to a pretty shade of deep pink.

SERVE IT: Serve chilled in a frosty cold glass and garnish by a triangle of watermelon or small strawberry (see my photos for ideas).

SPIKE IT, IF YOU LIKE: This is a versatile drink for a household with children or one with drinkers and non-drinkers. To serve this drink as an adult beverage, simply mix half a glass of the virgin sangria with a generous splash of port, sherry, or your favorite fortified wine. Brandy, grappa, cognac, vodka, rum, and fruit liqueurs are other possible ways to spike this refreshing summer cooler. (A concentrated wine or hard alcohol will likely give you better results than standard wines or sparkling wines, which may taste overly diluted by the virgin sangria.) 

Amuse Your Cat... 

Photo by Cleo Coyle
Photo by Cleo Coyle

Photo by Cleo Coyle

Yes, when I took the original photos for this recipe post, one of our adopted New York Strays, Durango decided that a peach also makes a very good beach ball. And, of course, after playtime, he decided to take a taste of the delicious water droplets shimmering on the edge of my watermelon garnish. So drink with joy, and...

Photo by Cleo Coyle

Stay cool, everyone!

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  1. "Three words come to mind for keeping one's sanity. THIS TOO WILL PASS."
    Has the heat gotten to you? I count four words.

    This sounds like a great drink. as is or with an adult addition.

    1. Thanks, Libby, it is now fixed. And, YES, the heat has gotten to me. That and lack of sleep. More caffeine wouldn't hurt, either. :)

  2. Here in Florida we've survived hurricanes and now a pandemic. But the toughest job of all is entertaining your cat! Love you books, Cleo and I love this recipe (though my kitty is not getting nowhere near it, she's a bit too clumsy for that)

  3. What a beautiful drink (love the cat enjoying it) and what devastating photos of the destruction. Yipes! Glad you're safe.

  4. Thank you for the mouth-watering pictures, Cleo. It is really hot here in Pennsylvania and I envy that cat getting a taste.

  5. Looks delicious. I will be mixing one later, but mine won't be a virgin I'm afraid.

  6. Thanks for your comments, everyone. Marc and Durango thank you, too. xoxo We're so glad you stopped by the Kitchen. (Wow, it really is hot out there today. Stay cool!) Love,

    ~ Cleo
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  7. What absolutely gorgeous photos, and what fun! So glad you shared Durango's antics with us. Virgin sangria is such a great idea on these hot days. We've been infusing our fridge water jug with a different blend of fruits and herbs every day, and SO enjoying it.