Drinking Sangria in the New Year

I want to tell you about the worst drink of my life and how much I love you all

I was composing this newsletter in my head yesterday, before the world tripped on the carpet of evil and tumbled into war last night. It seems silly to write. But I still want to tell you about Applebees and sangria and low-stakes horrors unimaginable. Because it was hilarious. And that is reason enough.

On New Year’s Day, a friend and I went to see “Uncut Gems”, which is about 2.5 hours of Adam Sandler yelling. I really liked it. But I was upset that I had been tricked into watching and liking what is essentially a basketball movie.

As a result of the movie, my friend and I had a very serious conversation about where the Sixers were located. Boston? I suggested.



We could Google it?


I agree.

This is how you know you are hanging out with the right person.

After the movie, we decided we needed a drink and some appetizers. But it was New Year’s day in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Those of you from bigger cities don’t know what this means, so let me tell you: NOTHING IS OPEN. Nothing has been open all week. For the Christmas holiday, all of Iowa shuts down to drink Busch Light in their homes and get passive aggressively huffed at by relatives who don’t understand why they haven’t found someone nice to date yet.

I had tried to plan in advance. But it’s very hard to do this when local restaurants don’t post their holiday hours and DON’T ANSWER WHEN YOU CALL or Facebook message. All I want to do is give you money in exchange for some booze and a mozzarella stick, why is this so hard?

This is how we found ourselves at 10pm on New Year’s Day at an Applebee’s. To be clear, Olive Garden was our first choice, but it closed at 10.

Sitting at the bar, we knew we wanted mozzarella sticks and nachos. But to drink? This decision was left up to me. And for the rest of my life, I will be haunted by the question, “Why didn’t you just order a beer?”

I instead ordered a white peach sangria.

My thinking was this: Sangria’s are usually pre-made and hard to fuck up. Also, I thought it was on special. I was wrong on all accounts.

What happened was we watched with increasing concern as the bartender pulled out an almost empty bottle of white Barefoot wine and mixed it with Pineapple juice straight from the can and garnished with an orange.

And now, this is where we get fuzzy on the details. Were there any other ingredients mixed inside this drink? Did we see it all? Is it possible, we could have been served something other than cheap ass wine with pineapple juice? Maybe?

But this copycat recipe from the internet, suggests that the only other ingredients would have been 7up and peach schnapps. I was in a sorority, so I can tell you with DEFINITE authority that you notice peach schnapps in a drink. I did not notice it.

I want to tell you how bad this drink was:

It was so bad that it made the drink from college mixed with Kool Aid in that one guys cooler in his closet tasted like Ambrosia.

It was so bad I wished it had been roofied.

It was so bad, I wished I had ordered engine coolant.

Why didn’t I order a beer?

I am one of the biggest trash eaters I know. My favorite late night snack is microwaved frozen White Castle burgers, which I buy from Walgreens 2 for $5, bitches. But even I could not stomach that.

My friend, however, DRANK THE WHOLE THING. He’s dead now. RIP.

He actually suggested we go back and do some further research. Order the “sangria” again, discuss with the bartender what went wrong. Do a forensic analysis. I, for one, want to go back and order a White Russian and watch them just mix some French Vanilla Coffee-mate with Captain Morgan.

In 2019, I published my first book. And I got to go out on a small tour, which was absolutely amazing. I had steeled myself for empty rooms and angry booksellers, but that was not the case. Also, I’m sorry California, but if we aren’t armed and eating tree roots for survival in August, I’m coming your way.

I also did some other things. Here are some highlights.

I’m writing all of this to remind myself. I just turned in two stories that need some extensive editing, which always makes me feel like a fraud and a failure.

But I also thank you all so much. When I started this newsletter in the last days of 2018, I had no idea anyone would read it, much less pay for it. Your support has helped me pay my water bill, when freelance payments ran late. Helped me chip away at the enormous amount of debt I went into to blow up my life. You helped me buy whiskey after I had a week of bomb threats and online hate so intense I thought I was going to get fired.

You have showed up to my events and told me nice things online and too my face. You bought my book and buy me drinks. You click on my links. You RT my work. Some of you have been reading me since I had a mom blog. And it’s all so much. I hope you know how much I appreciate you.

Also, I’m going back to Applebee’s.