Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Is it Soda? Pop? Coke?
Whether it is soda, pop, or coke depends on where you are from. On this map POP is green, SODA is blue, and COKE is red. I haven't seen any definition dominate Phoenix/Scottsdale.
What do you call carbonated soft drinks? Soda? Pop? Coke? Those are the three most popular generic names for carbonated flavored drinks although for me, "soda" and "pop" are the most common and "coke" is still a name brand.
Growing up in southwest Ohio, we referred to carbonated drinks as "pop" like in, "Would you like a bottle of pop?" When I worked in Kansas City, it was still "pop" but I noticed on visits to St. Louis, it was called "soda." I noticed a lot of guys from the East also referred to it as "soda." In a large part of the South, it is referred to as "coke" possibly because Coca-Cola originated in Atlanta, Georgia in the 1880's and the name has become generic for all soft drinks in he area.
There are also many regional brands of soft drinks. When I used to visit my relatives in Montreal, a popular drink was "spruce beer." It wasn’t beer, it was made from and tasted like pine needles. It doesn’t sound good but it was very tasty. The Canadian cream soda had no coloring like I was used to with my bottles of Barq’s which was pink.
Barq’s was a great brand in the old days. They made several other flavors like root beer and lime. I had a friend who like to drink half of his pink cream soda and fill the bottle back up with a 5 cent bag of Planter’s Peanuts. Yuck, not for me. Barq’s was also unique because, although it was spelled "Barq’s" most people pronounced it "Barges" because they thought the "q" looked like a "g" and every school kid knew that a "u" always followed a "q" (except maybe in a proper name, oops!)
Other popular regional brands include a cherry pop from North Carolina that is supposed to be wonderful called Cheerwine. We used to have Wagner’s Ginger Ale and Dad’s Root Beer in Ohio which were both excellent. We also had Vichy which was terrible, tasted like Alka-Seltzer. Detroit has Vernor’s Ginger Ale which is good but don’t breathe the carbonation, powerful stuff.
There are lots of other brands like Nesbits which made a grape and orange pop, Mission Orange, and they may still make Nehi although I haven’t seen it lately. Back east there is a coffee soda called Manhattan Special and there is Red Ribbon Cherry Supreme out of Pennsylvania. Portland, Oregon has Hotlips Blueberry Soda.
One thing to watch for if you are a Coke lover: Coke is made with fructose which does not have the wonderful flavor of cane sugar sweetening. During Passover in the springtime, Coke uses cane sugar and the bottles are identified by a yellow cap with the circle "U". I’ve had an expert tell me the taste is unbelievably better than the Coke we know. Mexican Coke is supposedly much better too.