Jul 16, 2014 16:38 Common Ground: Drinking in the cool side of summer Common Ground: Drinking in the cool side of summer Advocate story July 16, 2014 Comments It is hard to pass up a fast food restaurant’s cool drink special in July when every outdoor moment in south Louisiana can leave you drenched in sweat. If the sign advertises discounted drinks (I’m not talking alcohol) in many delicious flavors and for a limited time, I’m there. I cannot refuse a half-priced strawberry or blue coconut slush with a flavor add-in or one of those Dunkin’ Donut Coolattas or frozen mocha coffees. If it’s past 8 p.m., I’m going for the half-priced chocolate cream or pineapple milkshake. My three children’s hydration temptations are just as interesting. If we’re anywhere near that flavored frozen ice stand on Perkins Road, everybody wants the tiger blood-flavored snowball. When I’m filling up the tank, the children are inside the store filling up on frozen cherry or blue raspberry Icees. If my youngest daughter, 7, spies a Taco Bell, she’s going to beg for that Mountain Dew Baja Blast. But it’s not just the drinks. Dining on limited-time-only eats are a good draw, too. When Sonic advertised their national end-of-school special with 50-cent corn dogs, we ordered about a dozen of them and the half-priced slushies. During national doughnut day in June, we racked up on free doughnuts. I’ll admit it — doughnuts, corn dogs and burgers are not a particularly healthy approach to summertime dining. According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, Americans are spending about $680 billion per year to dine out, and they’re choosing restaurants that offer higher food quality and greater variety. On quiet, hot summer days spent at home, my blender and the ice machine are the best and cheapest place to get a frosty treat. My freezer is crammed with cups that my children have filled with homemade ice pops, like those made with Kool-Aid and sugar. It’s just all a part of what makes summer feel so unique. Without cool summer drinks, the heat would be unbearable, and our taste for something cool and sweet would go unsatisfied. But it’s summer and my taste buds will continue to crave slushies, Icees, and frozen coffees. Summer wouldn’t be summer without them. Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. Reach her at email@example.com.