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best soft drink ever

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  • mdibiaso Feb 26, 2003 02:58 AM
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Inspired by the post on worst soft drink ever. Here comes mine for the best ones.
When growing about near Boston 35 years ago some local company made Birch Beer. I was a clear drink that was in the same vein as root bear but lighter and more refreshing. Since I have not seen it for over 25 years it gets my gold medel. Silver goes to Moxie and bronse to a soft drink I recently found from Malta that reminded me of Moxie a bit (ie very bitter, almost like an aperative). It is called Kinnie and based on oranges. Any one with tastes similar to mine (I realize that Moxie is NOT everyone's cup of tea!) would be well adviced to see if Kinnie is imported to the US (it started coming to Sweden about 2 years ago). Anyone who could find the birch beer of my youth would be my friend for life.

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  1. s
    Stanley Stephan

    The white birch beer is common in Connecticut. I had some when I went home a few months ago at Nardelli's in Waterbury and Turk's in West Haven. You could probably get it at Jimmies in West Haven as well in the old Savin Rock Area.

    On the other hand, New Jersey birch beer is dark and reddish.

    I miss the white birch beer. I want some now. Great for cutting the grease of a hot dog or fried clams.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Stanley Stephan

      Thanks Stanley, I now know I have to make a trip to Connecticut next time I am in Boston to visit relatives. Maybe drinking this elixir from my youth would help my hair grow back!

      1. re: mdibiaso

        It's not esoteric or European or hip and cool but give me a cold Orange Crush anytime (especially summertime).

        1. re: micki

          Who but me remembers when Orange Crush came in a brown glass bottle and was a clear soda? I don't think this is a figment of my imagination...

          1. re: Cristina

            Orange Crush is my all-time fave, but I remember it in a clear bottle and it had almost a greenish-orange tinge to it.

            1. re: Cristina

              Christina:
              I remember Orange Crush in the brown glass bottle. Don't remember it being clear; don't think I ever specifically noticed the color. I had assumed it was orange.

              1. re: Cristina

                I remember those bottles. Used to buy 'Orange Crush' for seven cents a bottle also Seven Up.

        2. I also grew up in the Boston area. I think the birch beer you are thinking of is by Polar, from Worcester. It is still bottled, and I seem to recall seeing it at Market Basket. I think Cott's used to make one also.
          My all time favorite is Ginger Beer. Ther are many varieties, some better than others. Schweppes used to make a decent one. I'm not crazy aboout the one at Trader Joe's or Goya. Old Tyme is OK. The stuff I had in Jamaica was awesome.
          Moxie, yuck. I was going to put that on my worst ever list, but to each his own.

          Link: http://polarbev.com/products_flavor_b...

          13 Replies
          1. re: AlanH

            Again, really happy to see it is still around. Not sure the one I had as a kid was Polar. My parents use to buy it in 24 count mixed cases (you go and choose from dozens of flavors and make your own case) of 33 oz glass bottles at a liquor store in the Everett/Malden area (just north of Boston). I thought is was a more local company that had gone belly up years ago. Does this sound like the way Polar marketed their stuff back in the 60's. Maybe it is the same birch beer a drank as kid? That would mean I do not have to go to Connecticut when I return and hopefully, if they have not changed the recipe, I can get the exact same drink. Thanks for you help Alan.

            1. re: mdibiaso

              Hmm, can't remember that far back, but it is possible. There certainly were many more regional brands back then too.
              The link below might help.

              Link: http://www.angelfire.com/tn/traderz/b...

              1. re: AlanH

                When I was a kid, nothing beat Nehi Orange or Grape soda in the icy cold bottles. Also there was a drive-in in K.C. called Mugs Up - best root beer ever in frosted mugs.

                Now I drink 7up and actually I think Sierra Mist is pretty good. D.

                1. re: Donna - MI

                  I thought Grapette was a better flavor than the Nehi Grape, though the Nehi Orange was the favorite "big orange" of kiddom - I think it was 12 or 16 ounces and once sold for a nickle.

              2. re: mdibiaso

                Polar still makes it, and it is still marketed here. I didn't realize it was a rare thing, since I love it!

                1. re: mdibiaso

                  Twin Lights in Rockport, MA used to make soft drinks in 6 or 8 oz. glass bottles. Birch Beer was one, clear and in clear glass. They also had ginger ale( green bottle), lemon lime, cola, root beer, orange and sold it by a wooden case. All bottles had to be returned and refilled. A different time, ahh.

                2. re: AlanH

                  Mmmm! I LOVE Schweppes' Ginger Beer - but I don't see them in the US anymore, only in Asia. I used to order ginger beer, ginger ale and I think this sort of liquer at a restaurant a lot. Forget the name. Kind of like the boy version of a Shirley Temple.

                  1. re: relativeways1

                    Might be a Roy Rogers.

                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                      Roy Rogers is a cherry coke.

                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                        Yeah it is called roy rogers!

                        Weird - I just googled it and some call for cherry and coke and some call for ginger ale...

                      2. re: relativeways1

                        in south carolina: vernor's ginger ale...super gingery, be careful that it doesn't go up your nose....good stuff!

                        1. re: betsydiver

                          Good stuff indeed...but not as god as it used to be since they changed the formula some years ago. It's a little too sweet these days....

                          1. re: The Professor

                            South Carolina? Blenheim's Extra-Hot Ginger Ale, possibly the finest soft drink ever produced. Made right there in Blenheim, SC. Sounds weird, but half and half Richard's Triple Peach Wine and Blenheim's over ice is a great summertime drink.

                    2. Orangina, back before Pepsi got hold of it and ruined it. The good stuff is still available in Europe. San Pellegrino makes an orange soda that's good, too.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: GG Mora

                        Yum. I'm in Italy right now, and I'm a big fan of both orangina (remember when it was called "Orelia"?) and aranciata -- that slightly bitter orange soda. For some reason, Fanta orange soda is HUGE here--I remember it as being kind of a niche/not-very-popular brand back in the US, but they have giant market penetration here. I'm not really a soda person, but my BF just discovered a type of soda called "Gassosa" which is a light lemon-lime soda, not as sweet as Sprite or 7Up. I bought it by mistake, thinking it was just sparkling (gassosa) mineral water. He loves it! And it's really cheap.

                        1. re: GG Mora

                          ditto on the Orangina. i also really dug the ginger beer and champagne cola from jamaica as well. there's also something about drinking soft drinks out of a cold dusty glass bottle in the blazing heat (usually in another country) that makes soft drinks taste so good !

                          1. re: GG Mora

                            Not exactly the same, but if you like Orangina you'd probably also like Polar Orange Dry. It's great stuff.

                            1. re: Guy

                              Yes, you took the words right out of my mouth; it's the only one I drink....Even the diet is good...Is it only a New England thing, tho?

                            2. re: GG Mora

                              San Pellegrino's lemon is terrific, not too sweet.

                              1. re: aromatherapy

                                San Pellegrino Limonata is my favorite. Especially good with Maker's Mark bourbon, an unbeatable combination. My other favorites are:

                                Blenheim's Extra-Hot Ginger Ale
                                Nehi Peach
                                Welch's Grape
                                SPA Lemon
                                Cheerwine
                                Ting Grapefruit
                                Ting Passionfruit
                                Materva
                                Jarritos Tamarindo

                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                  mmm San Pellegrino Limonata - perfect for a summer day on the deck, by the pool, on the beach...just outside!

                                2. re: aromatherapy

                                  LOVE Limonata (Lemon), Aranciata (tastes like freshly squeezed & carbonated mandarin juice) & Chinotto (Bitter citrus & herbs similar but not really like cola or root beer. Very hard to describe). They are all made with real cane sugar & fruit juices. Nicely balanced, not toosweet not too sour.

                                3. re: GG Mora

                                  By the way, Pepsi doesn't own Orangina. It's Cadbury Schweppes.

                                  1. re: GG Mora

                                    I love Orangina. In Europe you can get a diet version of it which I drank all the time.

                                  2. Dr. Pepper! i believe it is the only major soft drink that still uses sugar.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: John Scar

                                      I believe only one bottler in Texas still uses sugar in Dr. Pepper, the other plants use corn syrup.

                                      1. re: AlanH

                                        I agree. I love Dr. Pepper. Now that I'm getting old and fat, Diet Dr. Pepper is my drink of choice when it comes to soda. It's the only diet soda that doesn't taste diety and does taste exactly like the original.

                                        1. re: JBG

                                          Diet DP is by far the best diet soda I have ever had. In fact I just had one.

                                        2. re: AlanH

                                          I think that is correct. Around here in Central TX you see Dublin Dr Pepper being touted as having real sugar.

                                          1. re: pickychicky1979

                                            They also make a canned pure cane not Dublin version that i have found at a store called Brookshire's when i go visit my MIL in east Texas. We make a special trip to get it, and it isn't as expensive as Dublin bottles.

                                        3. re: John Scar

                                          You can get Coke bottled in Mexico that still has sugar instead of HFCS. They sell it in the little groceries in the Mexican neighborhood in Chicago. I bet other ethnic neighborhoods would have similar products.

                                        4. I second the posting about Euro-Fanta: I drank it all the time while living in BRD.

                                          But I gotta give props to my peeps back at Vernors outta Michigan -- the best damn ginger ale on the planet. Extremely dry and crisp. The diet is even zippier, and I never drink diet sodas from other companies.

                                          15 Replies
                                          1. re: cinghiale

                                            I'll second that. Vernors is one of those nostalgic treats for me, sadly the distributor here abouts doesn't carry it.

                                            1. re: chilihead

                                              Vernor's IS good. In AZ, we see it on occasions, and always in a can. The older bottles "seemed" to be fuller, with a richer taste - or maybe that is just the way I wish to remember them...

                                              Hunt

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                I strongly believe that all sodas tasted better from the glass bottles. Cans and plastic just don't hold the flavor. Remember drinking a tall glass bottle of Coke or Pepsi on the beach in summertime? They were truly refreshing and gave such a nice rush! I know it's partly the HFCS, but those bottles....

                                                And to keep this OT, my favorite flavor from years ago is called Squirt. Used to be very big in western NY. I haven't seen it in years. It's flavored with grapefruit and is very zesty. It used to be popular in taverns mixed with sloe gin.

                                                1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                  Squirt is readily available, at least here in Las Vegas. I have to admit, I tend to reach more for it during the summertime, as it's so refreshing, and NOT a heavy cola. Mix with gin, you say? This I gotta try, sounds addictive!

                                                  1. re: Honeychan

                                                    Squirt with gin is excellent -- Dad's go to drink in Mexico when on the road (but not while driving of course: wonder whatever happened to that portable bar?).

                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                      I miss Ruby Red Squirt. Sooooo good with gin.

                                                    2. re: Honeychan

                                                      I believe catskillgirl mentioned it with sloe gin which is definitely not the same thing as gin. Sloe gin is red and i think is some derivitive of a fruit, although i'm not sure. i had several unfortunate experiences with it during high school and college (I guess this was part of my education!)

                                                      1. re: betsydiver

                                                        Sloe gin is colored and flavored with sloe berries and was a feature of "ladies'" (and the underaged's) drinks in the 60's and 70's. Once (over)consumed, never forgotten.

                                                    3. re: Catskillgirl

                                                      BevMo chains carry Squirt too

                                                      1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                        I do agree, with one possible exception - fountain. For me, cans and plastic just do not do it. It might go beyond the taste and to the tactile feelings, or maybe it is the taste.

                                                        Agree,

                                                        Hunt

                                                  2. re: cinghiale

                                                    I used to love Vernors, but the use of HFCS has killed the taste. I will still drink it a few times a year but I'm looking for a ginger ale that doesn't have that vile form of sugar. I also love Blenheim's ginger ale, but, I am unsure if that also contains HFCS.

                                                    I like Hires root beer in the summer, but only in a soft serve float.

                                                    1. re: Kelli2006

                                                      GUS extra dry Ginger ale uses cane sugar and real ginger extract:

                                                      http://drinkgus.com/flavors.html

                                                      1. re: Sean

                                                        GUS (Grown Up Soda) in Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Lime are mighty fine. Another great line is Vignette. They make non alcoholic sodas from wine grapes. I have a Pinot Noir in m fridge right now, this summer we'll be carrying their rose and chardonnay sodas. Both brands are not too sweet and all natural and delicious.

                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                          Yah, I love their Meyer Lemon and Ginger Ale!

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            Okay, now THAT sounds good.

                                                  3. I'm going back many decades. Growing up in the UK there was a drink called Dandelion and Burdock. Couldn't tell you what was in it as I was only a kid but it was wonderful and I still get cravings. Don't know if its still made and if it tastes the same. I've not seen it on my many visits back. Any other UK hounds out there that remember it?

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Charlieboy

                                                      You can still get it, but it's quite hard to find.

                                                      1. re: Charlieboy

                                                        Marks and Spencer have started selling it, as part of an "Old Fashioned" range which also includes a very fiery ginger beer, and cloudy lemonade.

                                                        1. re: Charlieboy

                                                          I used to live there and remember that AND Irn-Bru. Brings back memories.

                                                        2. It's gotta be Ting, a Carribbean grapefruit-based soda. So refreshing and delicious.

                                                          Can we get any here in NY?

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: It's Me

                                                            Yes! Ting. I couldn't get enough of it when I was in St. Kitts (well, during the day anyway; nighttime was for drinking rum). Coca Cola had a product called Citra a few years ago that was close but not quite. Now even that's unavailable. I've never seen Ting here in the states unfortunately.

                                                            1. re: Carpetbagger

                                                              I like Ting too and it's widely available where I live in London (which has a high Caribbean population).

                                                              1. re: Carpetbagger

                                                                Ting is hard to find, but it is in the states. I've found it in Wisconsin, Fl., Tn., NC, NJ & NY. When I find it I load up and savor it very carefully!

                                                              2. re: It's Me
                                                                j
                                                                JessicaKlonsky

                                                                Ting is available all over Brooklyn. Most Jamaican patty spots sell it, as does the Stop and Shop on Flatbush and Regents place. It is good. I also love ginger beer and champagne cola. I can't remember the brand name, but its Jamaican.

                                                                1. re: JessicaKlonsky

                                                                  I know this is an old thread but you can find Ting at Target in Brooklyn ( Atlantic Center) and certain Key Food locations. It's one of my favorite sodas!

                                                              3. There are several companies that ship rare or low production sodas. Galco's carries several.

                                                                My favorities include Bitter Lemon (sometimes available) and Lucas-aid, a British product which is wonderful when you feel low.

                                                                Link: http://www.sodapopstop.com/products/b...

                                                                1. Stewarts Ginger Ale- realy strong

                                                                  1. I've been meaning to post about my soda finds recently, but I might as well post some of my favorites here. These are all available around the NYC area, so I'm not sure as to the availability elsewhere, but look out for them where you can.

                                                                    Paso de Los Toros Pumelo Soda (Argentina). Pumelo is a variant of a grapefruit and this soda has a high juice content. Not too sweet, and good tartness. I find this at Rio de la Plata bakery in Corona Queens.

                                                                    Ting grapefruit soda (Jamaica). Also good and tart and not too sweet. Can find this at many Jamaican restaurants around NYC.

                                                                    Schwepp's sodas from Egypt. Flavors include tangerine, lemon, orange, and apple. These sodas also have a high juice content, and are none too sweet. I find these around the Egyptian part of Astoria (Steinway).

                                                                    Vimto (England). This is a black currant soda, somewhat similar to black cherry soda, but has a fruitier depth that I like better. I can find these in the Indian section of Queens (Jackson Heights).

                                                                    Orangina Rouge (France/USA) I like Orangina just fine, but I like the rouge version much better since I first discovered it several years ago in France. It's finally available in the US (NYC at least). It's standard Orangina, but made with blood oranges and guava. I can find it at many bodegas around NYC now.

                                                                    Club brand sodas (Ireland). Their orange soda has the highest juice content I've found of any of the juice orange sodas. Their lemon soda is quite good, but my favorite is the one called "Rock Shandy" which is a combination of lemon and orange. I get this around the Irish section of Woodside Queens.

                                                                    San Pellegrino brand sodas (Italy). As has been mentioned in this thread already, it's pretty widely availabe and they make sodas with a good juice content. Favorites are limonata and oranciata. I'm learning to like the brown colored one (can't remember what it's called).

                                                                    Sidral (Mexico). While the syrupy stuff from El Jarrito can hit the spot while eating mexican food on a hot summer day, I generally prefer this apple soda. Much more refreshing and not cloyingly sweet.

                                                                    Fanta (from Europe). While the coca-cola company seems to think american drinkers don't like anything natural in their sodas, the european stuff is more like orangina. I can find european imported Fanta at the Polish markets in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. While I've found no shortage of lemon sodas, this Fanta has served as an old standby.

                                                                    Kean sodas (Greece). Another variant of the juicy soda, I like the orange and lemon sodas of this brand. I can find them at the Greek markets in Astoria, Queens.

                                                                    CC Lemon (Japan). Whenever I'm feeling a little rundown, I'll get some of this stuff if I'm near a japanese market. Besides being another juice-based soda, it's also laced with vitamin C. And lots of it. There's also a smaller premium bottle version available that contains a very high dosage of vitamin C. I can find these at most Japanese grocers.

                                                                    Hansens sodas (from Trader Joe's). I've lived on these as a kid, but I've never lost a taste for the grapefruit or mandarin lime sodas. I also like the Trader Joe's version of orange-mango soda.

                                                                    Unavailable in NYC but gets high marks: Vernor's ginger ale, Cactus Cooler (from CA) pineapple-orange soda from canada dry -- what can i say, loved this stuff since i was a kid.

                                                                    I'm sure there's more, but that's enough for now.

                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Eric Eto

                                                                      What a great list. Thanks, Eric! Many unfamiliar brands to check out.

                                                                      Can you please pop (a pun, my word) over to the OB board and tell me where I can get Club Orange in Woodside? I asked a year or so ago where to find this in NYC and Dave Feldman (thanks, Dave!) pointed me to a website where it cost $1.29 a can. (That's $7.74 for a six pack.) It's gotta be cheaper in Queens, right?

                                                                      Image: http://store4.yimg.com/I/soda-pop_172...

                                                                      1. re: Eric Eto

                                                                        add iron beer (soda) to the list. From Cuba I think.

                                                                        1. re: chief

                                                                          IS this the cola with the fist on the can and a vaguely orange-y, vanilla taste? Where can you buy it? I've had it in a Cuban restaurant, but never found it in a store.

                                                                          1. re: lulubelle

                                                                            I think the Iron Beer can has a picture of a strong man raising his fist as he makes a muscle (flexes his muscle). It is not one of my favorites, but my son loves it. We had a hard time finding it and finally settled for ordering it online. We get it from www.cubanproducts.com they also sell a pineapple softdrink called Jupina that I do like. I just wish it was not so sweet.

                                                                            1. re: lulubelle

                                                                              I am new to this and I posted something about the drink you were refering to, but I don't see it here so I decided to just provide you a link to were I buy it for my son who loves it.
                                                                              http://www.cubanproducts.com/product_...

                                                                              http://www.cubanproducts.com/product_...

                                                                              1. re: iraida

                                                                                cool, thanks!

                                                                          2. re: Eric Eto

                                                                            Add this one to the list: Señorial Sangría, from Mexico. You'd swear it had all the alcohol of the real deal, but there's nary a drop in it. What a flavor!

                                                                            1. re: Eric Eto

                                                                              I love love love any apple-flavored sodas, Sidral is really tasty, and totally refreshing on a hot day. Cactus Cooler is also great, when I's tired of colas. Root beer/Birch beers are enjoyable, even addictive- if I gert in the mood for it, nothing else can beat them.

                                                                              CC Lemon is stuff of my -dreams-! I just love sour things, and this is utterly addictive in my book.

                                                                              Truth be known, I enjoy too many sodas. Moxie was bizarre, but I could learn to really like it.

                                                                              1. re: Eric Eto

                                                                                Hi Eric,

                                                                                Where did you find Orangina Rouge in NYC? I have been looking for it but didn't see it in Manhattan.

                                                                                I also like CC Lemon, but the Natchan orange soda is even better. If you see it give it a try!
                                                                                Thanks in advance!

                                                                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                  I first found Orangina Rouge at a random bodega in Park Slope, and then I started seeing it at some corner markets in the East Village. I haven't really sought it out recently (cutting down on the soda intake), but I thought I saw it at some place like Fairway. I'm not sure if it's just not been selling well and the distributors have discontinued Orangina Rouge or not, but I don't seem to see it as much any more.

                                                                                  1. re: E Eto

                                                                                    Hi E Eto,

                                                                                    Thanks for the tips! I will check out places at EV!

                                                                                    1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                      You should note that my post above was from five years ago. I'm not sure what the situation is now. By the way, I have found some Italian blood orange sodas at Italian delis, mostly in Queens, like at Sorriso's in Astoria, and I thought I saw it at Iavarone's in Maspeth as well.

                                                                              2. c
                                                                                Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                I'm not generally a soda drinker, but there are four that I really like: ginger beer, Ting grapefruit soda, Bitter Lemon (which I grew up drinking), and Brasilena espresso soda from Italy, which is like lightly carbonated, sweetened (but not super-sweet; it has half the sugar of Coke by weight) iced coffee.

                                                                                1. Some years ago, during a hot spell, I discovered Safeway's house brand "Select" Peach/apricot sodapop. It was wonderfully refreshing, but over the years either the flavor seems to be fading or my taste buds are.

                                                                                  1. A short lived, light citrus flavored soft drink from the early to mid-80s. Anyone remember it?

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: jjm

                                                                                      Oh yes, I remember Rondo. Also the commercials that had a "cool dude" grass skiing down a huge hill. I remember thinking, as a show skier myself, that that looked really dangerous and scary.

                                                                                      I was a young-un at the time, and still taking piano lessons. I was learning a Mozart Rondo at the time, and found it highly amusing that there was a "pop" (which is what we called it in MN) named Rondo too.

                                                                                      Don't remember really what it tasted like, though -- I think it was Mountain Dew-like?

                                                                                    2. I concur on Hansen's grapefruit and mandarin lime. I also love most variations of spice sodas, like ginger ale and cream soda. My favorite for a while in the mid- late- 80s was a product put out by 7-Up called 7-Up Gold, which was a delicious, spicy soda. I'm not sure it ever was sold nationally, but was available in California for about 5 years.

                                                                                      1. Ok, this isn't a regional or micro soft drink, but I have had a taste since childhood for Canada Dry Island Lime soda. Dayglow green in color & more sweet than tart. I used to buy a glass 16oz bottle from a local deli almost daily on my walk home from school... I haven't seen it in ages..Does it still exist?

                                                                                        More more adult taste, my current favorite -- I really enjoy Virgil's Root Beer...loads of flavor & not overly sweet.

                                                                                        1. Dominion root beer. Dr. Brown's cream soda. Reed's Ginger Brew.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: zora

                                                                                            Don't forget Reed's EXTRA Ginger Brew if you're truly a ginger freak.

                                                                                            But the best soft drink I ever had or ever will was my first young taste of cream soda. It was from a classic, unlabled glass bottle from my grandpa's stash leftover from the liquor stores he used to own. Perhaps it's best that it had no label... a body could waste his life chasing an elixir like that.

                                                                                          2. I like birch beer, ginger beer, root beer, Ting's, Hansen's, Virgil's, etc. But my all-time favorite? Coca-Cola of yore. Although I remember spectacular specimens from 6-1/2 oz. and 12-ounce bottles, especially those served in cold glasses with cracked ice, the very best Cokes I've ever had have been in fountains. In places where they still care about preparation of Cokes from syrup and hand stir the concoction (such as Pie 'n Burger in Pasadena, California), even the pale by comparison Coke Classic tastes terrific.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                              Did not think about those hand made soft drinks. When I was growing up in the 60's there was a drug store on the way home from school. I still have dreams about stopping there getting some penny candy (or clove life savers) and having them hand pump a soda. My favorite was tutti frutti (a little squirt of 5-6 flavors and the stream of seltzer mixed with a spoon). Had no idea there were places left that actually still hand pump and stir and I would put this in a whole different category from bottled soda.

                                                                                              1. re: mdibiaso

                                                                                                It IS hard to find places that still hand pump sodas these days, but I'm doing it myself, using Marco Polo syrups (with zero additives) and inexpensive White Rose seltzer -- it actually costs less than Coke or Pepsi on sale, let alone more expensive brands.

                                                                                                1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                  I do the same for the grandkids. It is a super-special treat when they come to visit.

                                                                                                  1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                    I just ordered some ginger "fruit shrub" concentrate from Vermont Country Store - what they call "America's first soft drink." Sounds like you use 1 part of the concentrate to 8 parts of a seltzer water. Flavors are ginger, raspberry and strawberry - made in Lexington, MA.

                                                                                                    Has anyone tried it?

                                                                                                    Link: http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/pr...

                                                                                                2. re: Dave Feldman
                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  Dave, you just evoked a childhood (mid-70s) soda memory. We'd tag along with my dad to the local Ace hardware, which had a machine dispensing those little bottles (the kind where you open the door and pull out the bottle you want). While my father, the consummate DIY guy (in a good way) got what he needed, we'd browse around with our 25-cent, ice cold Cokes, but we had to finish them before we lwft or pay another quarter for the bottle. Anyway, this was a big treat for us because we never had soda at home.

                                                                                                3. VERNOR'S No question . Nose burningly potent if you chug it , sweet and gingery if you sip it , and carbonated up the wazoo , the BEST ginger ale anywhere , The old Woodward factory is sadly no more , but the currently available stuff tastes remarkably like the pop of yore . I still have to ship it out to my out of state relatives and friends occasionally . Other than that , I really LOVE plain old Pepsi . Gotta go to a Mexican market to get the good glass bottles now , though . And yes , here it's pop , not soda . Preferably bought at a party store .

                                                                                                  1. Does anyone remember Hammer sodas?

                                                                                                    I can't recall their taste but my memory of them were of 'the truck' and 'Barry', who used to deliver cases, with my grandmother's hand picked bottles of flavor. This was in NYC. Am I showing my age?

                                                                                                    Was it any good, to those who know it? I specifically recall a black cherry and a cream soda. Anyone know what happened to the company? My online search turned up nil.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: TR

                                                                                                      Absoultely remember Hammer soda, and that was in Connecticut in the early 80's. So, not so long ago. They would call up and take our order. We got to choose the flavors. Most of the time it was diet, which the kids couldn't drink because it would "stunt your growth." So occassionally we'd get the treat of cream, grape or orange, and of course they'd all go that same day.

                                                                                                      I believe local social clubs, like the Italian Center or other catering halls also had Hammer soda. That distinctive glass bottle with little dimples in the glass towards the top.

                                                                                                    2. I love the aforementioned San Pellegrino sodas, but my favorite is rather hard to come by in the U.S.: Aranciata Rosa, which is made with blood orange. Great stuff.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Chris G.

                                                                                                        Blood orange? That sounds great, will have to hunt some down!

                                                                                                      2. Diet Shasta Grapefruit is my favorite. I can drink several cans in one sitting. Plus, it's available at the 99 cent store for 99 cents a six pack! What a deal!

                                                                                                        1. I loved Aspen and haven't seen it in decades. I really like the new Vanilla Coke that's out, too. And the Pineapple Crush that we used to get in Maui when I was a kid was great.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Emma

                                                                                                            Yes, Aspen was a great. Today's market could use an apple flavored soft drink.

                                                                                                            1. re: Bprecie

                                                                                                              Forgot about Aspen! If you live anywhere that has Mexican pop available, Sidral Mundet does a tasty apple soft drink.

                                                                                                          2. Ting is my fav grapefruit soda.

                                                                                                            I miss Dad's and Hire's Root Beer, but have been consoled with Dr. Brown's.

                                                                                                            But the soda line I can't live without and makes me act and squealing like a little girl is Jones. I love the green apple and adore strawberry lime for margarita's. It's sippin soda! :D

                                                                                                            It's hard to find, and now even harder since I have shared it with you hounds!

                                                                                                            Link: http://www.jonessoda.com/files/sodas....

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: Denise

                                                                                                              I am sorry Jones is hard to find where you live. It's everywhere here in Biloxi and Southern IN where I come from. I have even seen it at Target. It's weird how scattered distribution is.

                                                                                                              I loved the orange and cream, blue bubble gum, and green apple.

                                                                                                            2. I cannot believe someone enjoys Kinnie as much as i do....i have been looking for places that sell it but once i moved from NJ i figured i wouldn't find it here in NC.....i tried Kinnie when i was on vacation in Malta in 2000......i did find a place in Canada a few years back, but to have it shipped then was pricey, so i can't imagine what it may be like now......i'm actually trying to find a bitter orange recipe so that i can possibly recreate it in my kitchen......that's what led me here........kinnie rules!

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: global408

                                                                                                                I'm Maltese and I'm just addicted to Kinnie (good thing there's the diet version!). This year a new version was put on the market - Kinnie Zest.. it's got a more intense orange flavour, and it's fast becoming my new favourite soft drink! Missed it so much when I was studying abroad - it's one of the reasons I'm glad to be back home!

                                                                                                                1. re: global408

                                                                                                                  dude where did you buy kinnie in New Jersey? i'd be willing to drive hours to find it...I went to malta for honey moon and 1 year anniversary is coming up...i'd love to surprise wife w/ it!!

                                                                                                                2. In the mid 80's, when Snapple products were first showing up in Brooklyn, they made some flavors of soda. There were a couple I really liked, but my favorite was Snapple Cherry Lime Rickey soda. Delicious!

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: dorilou

                                                                                                                    I loved the Snapple Cherry Lime Rickey - I wish they still made it. I also loved Cott Cherry (not black cherry) Soda.

                                                                                                                  2. Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray tonic.. spelled right? Haven't seen it in years but loved it.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: fromagina

                                                                                                                      Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray is still around, at least here on the east coast.

                                                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                        I was coming here to post about Cel-Ray. I find in locally in Philly no problem.

                                                                                                                        What is not to like about a funky celery soda! Dr. Brown sodas rule!

                                                                                                                    2. Growing up in Montreal I loved spruce beer, Cott's black cherry soda, Golden Cockerel ginger beer and Schweppes tonic water.

                                                                                                                      1. DH grew up in Chicago and every time we visit we have to load up the car or bring back grocery bags full of Green River. This is sickeningly sweet lime green soda but he LOVES it. If we go by plane, he tries to stuff 2 liter bottles in a suitcase. Don't know what he will do now that airlines are charging mightily for 1st and 2nd bags. We will probably have to go via car because he also has to stock up on Vienna dogs, Lou Malnati's and all the other goodies he misses living here in Central Ohio.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                                          I was wondering when someone was going to mention Green River. We only had this on St Patrick's day, usually made into an ice cream float. I haven't had it in years.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                                            Now you got me all misty! I grew up in Chicago and I still remember the summer day I walked over to the delicatessen, by myself, and ordered my last Green River. I was ten. A few months later we moved to California. I had no idea they wouldn't have it there.

                                                                                                                            Anyway, I love Coca Cola, Canada Dry Ginger Ale and the now extinct Delaware Punch.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                                                                                                              Delaware Punch isn't extinct, though it's hard to find. The hot dog chain James Coney Island in Houston carries it, for example.

                                                                                                                          2. This is one old thread, but I'll throw my two cents in. Favorites as a kid

                                                                                                                            Orangina
                                                                                                                            Manhattan Special
                                                                                                                            Hires Root Beer
                                                                                                                            Forget the maker, but Cream Soda - might have also been Hires
                                                                                                                            Lemon?Lime soda from Leewood Bottling in Tuckahoe

                                                                                                                            1. Count me in as in love with Virgil's root beer.

                                                                                                                              1. For me, it's Barq's Root Beer, but the versions that used to come from Biloxi, MS, and then New Orleans, not the Coca-Cola iteration.

                                                                                                                                However, I must admit that I think of this drink with the cuisine of the area, almost as one. The only meals that I have not had wine with (other than early lunches and breakfasts), have been New Orleans/Gulf Coast meals with a "local" Barq's. This, over the last 35 years. I find that it compliments *that* cuisine, so well.

                                                                                                                                Hunt

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                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                  Ditto on the Barq's of my youth. And it used to go great with a muffaletta. It doesn't taste the same now.

                                                                                                                                2. Lift soda, which I think is manufactured by Coca-cola, but not available here in the U.S. I had it in Australia and loved it!

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: spkspk

                                                                                                                                    I wholeheartedly agree - nothing cut through the oppressive heat of a Queensland summer like a cold Lift straight out of the hostel fridge. I managed to bring back a case (12 cans) of it when I returned to Canada a few years ago. I rationed those 12 cans like they were sugar during World War I...
                                                                                                                                    I found a company that ships Lift to both Canada and the USA but the cost is quite prohibitive:
                                                                                                                                    http://www.aussieproducts.com/prodinf...

                                                                                                                                  2. I believe it is also still bottled under the brand name of Polar, it used to be in cans looking like a birch tree, correct? They also used to make Saspirella (Sp?) too correct ?

                                                                                                                                    Another favorite of mine was Orangello ... was like carbinated orange juice, and also orange dry made by Polar

                                                                                                                                    1. Here's the link for Polar Brands

                                                                                                                                      http://www.polarbev.com/products_flav...

                                                                                                                                      1. I like Old Jamaican Ginger Beer and Fentiman's Ginger Beer. Fentiman's also do a lovely old-fashioned lemonade. But my favourite soft drink is a lime cordial made by a French company called Teissiere diluted with sparkling water.

                                                                                                                                        1. Fresca and Coca Cola.

                                                                                                                                          The Coke Museum in Atlanta has a fun area where you can try soft drinks from all over the world.

                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: filth

                                                                                                                                            So does the Vegas one. I wish I had a soda fountain like that in my house..
                                                                                                                                            I'll second Fresca, but my Coke of choice has to be cherry.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: marmite

                                                                                                                                              The Vegas Coca-Cola museum in Vegas is closed, but the retail store still exisits. I used to take -all- my out-of-town visitors there, they would really get a kick out of the different sodas. Beverly was a -real- hit..*insert major sarcasm here*

                                                                                                                                              I just tried Trader Joe's Blood Orange soda, imported from Italy. VERY good, i'm definately addicted. Gotta go stock up majorly now!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Honeychan

                                                                                                                                                The blood orange soda is really good stuff. Trader Joe's mojito soda is also pretty addictive.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: filth

                                                                                                                                              Fresca rocks. or Diet Code. Or Peach Snapple.

                                                                                                                                            3. I am currently addicted to GUS Dry Myer Lemon, I have one every morning on my drive to work...

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sean

                                                                                                                                                I'm surprised that eveyone has sung the praises of Virgil's rootbeer (which is very good) but no one has as yet mentioned Their cream soda which is INCREDIBLE. finally, a cream soda that actually tastes vanilla-y.
                                                                                                                                                I did most of my unusual soda shopping in Hath Food storse. And what I remember were some of the soda put out by both Natural Brew and Journey's back before both cut thier offerings to the bone. Tops on my list was the Natural Brew Premium Draft Cola (so creamy!) In fact I loved it so much I saved the very last bottle I could get UNOPENED as a momento (dont laugh, my mom did the same thing with a bottle of 1960's era Moxie) The Ginseng Cola which Natural brew puts out now does not, in my opions come close to the Blue Label premium. Other NatBru sodas I developed a fonness for were the summer brew (a sorta dry lemon lime) and winter brew (sorta tasted like eggnog) though oddly dues to distribution and ordering you could gernally only find winter in the summer and vice versa. Journeys gates point for the sheer range of sodas they offered (back when the labels had creepy pictures on them) I remember having a particular fondness for Twisted Bean (a cream soda, whose label featured a demented jack in the box) a ginger vanilla (dont remember the name but the label had a sun and cresent moon) the sagebrush soda (a barrel with a big handlebar mustache) and the Thai Lemongrass soda (an Elephant dressed as a southeast asian temple dancer) which I could only find in cans instead of bottles.

                                                                                                                                              2. There's a brand out of Wisconsin that puts honey in their sodas. The orange cream with honey is amazing.

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                                                                                  Sprechers! There root beer is the best around.

                                                                                                                                                  http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/sodas.php

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                    That's it, thanks! The Bevmo chain carries it along with a slew of other regional sodas, which I sampled, and Sprechers was by far the best.

                                                                                                                                                2. I just returned to NC from my hometown in NE PA. I have my hard pretzels and a case of Frozen Run clear birch beer in tow. I, too, grew drinking this soda and my daughter is a huge fan. In fact, she insisted we pick up a case to bring home.

                                                                                                                                                  www.frozenrun.com

                                                                                                                                                  1. Anyone else remember Crass soda? In the 70's we used to get cases of this stuff in little 6 oz bottles w/ assorted flavors. Lemon-lime, orange, grape, cherry, birch beer, etc. I loved that stuff! We always got a couple of cases anytime there was a big picnic or holiday to celebrate. I had totally forgotten about it until I began reading this thread. Thanks for the memory!

                                                                                                                                                    1. Does anyone remember Purple Passion? The can was a very psychedelic purple design. I remember drinking it between '73 -78, although it was hard to find. I think the flavor was somewhat Dr. Pepperish, but I can't be sure. I do know I absolutely loved it then!

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                                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                        Wow - you have reminded me of something I haven't thought of in many years. I used to drink this in Boulder, Colorado in college in the 70s (dating myself). The cans were great looking with their purple / multicolor swirls. These days I am addicted to Sumol. It is a Portuguese drink that I learned to love in Portugal. We are there often because my husband is Portuguese. Sumol laranja (orange) is a light, refreshing orange-flavored soda. It is not bright orange, but is rather a light lemon-limey color. It also comes in other flavors (not sure of the varieties) as I can't quit with the orange. Now that we have a second home in New York, every time I am up there, I hit the Seabra grocery store in Newark and load up on Sumol, and other Portuguese items too, of course. If anyone knows where it can be found in Florida, please post and let me know. These humid, muggy summer days in Floida just call out for this drink.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mothership

                                                                                                                                                          LOL! We just returned from a trip to Portugal, and my daughters were absolutely addicted to Sumol! The oldest preferred the pineapple flavor, while her younger sister preferred orange. I do admit that it IS a very refreshing drink on a hot day. I was actually searching the web for locations that sell this stuff here, as my daughters are going thru withdrawal! If anyone has links to sites that deliver, please post!

                                                                                                                                                      2. From my child-food memories, one of the best was drinking Schweppes Strawberry, at a tiny hotel neighboring my grandmother's house at the Aegean Coast. The manager of the hotel -which was also a neighbor- would have cases of the drink at her "cellar", and was very generous about sharing it. I was a child with a seriously deprived palate (everyone in the family were painfully bad cooks, and were proud of this), so perhaps I was romanticizing the whole thing. But I think it was the best drink I tasted until I found my way into more serious stuff. It was light in sugar, deeply flavored (nothing like the wussy Snapple type drinks) and I can even remember the vivid ruby stain on the white tablecloth when I accidentally spilled half a glass on it. With an idiotic childhood menace, I decided to hide the stain under a vase. Brilliant! As if the lady wouldn't notice! Well, I was twelve... I saw her many times after that. She never said anything.

                                                                                                                                                        I never was able to find a bottle of Schweppes Strawberry at any market during that time, just that hotel. I even wonder whether all was a dream.

                                                                                                                                                        A google search comes with 7 counts, perhaps there is hope. Perhaps not having more Schweppes Strawberry is for the better; tasting it again might just ruin the whole memory.

                                                                                                                                                        1. When I was growing up in Cincinnati, we drank Tiger Red, a red cream soda that tasted vaguely like bubble gum from what I remember. Then we moved to Chicago and Drank 50/50 (a grapefruit soda from Canfields I think) and Green River, which was a sticky sweet lime soda.

                                                                                                                                                          I can't really imagine liking the Tiger Red or Green River now, but I still like grapefruit soda.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Don't know if this one popped up for others' worst soft drink ever, but I remember growing up loving Cactus Cooler.

                                                                                                                                                            I also absolutely love apple flavored demi soda (korean brand).

                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cinemaverite1

                                                                                                                                                              I second Cactus Cooler. I only recall seeing it in California where I grew up. I heard that it was no longer being made though. Hope that is not true.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bananna slug

                                                                                                                                                                Still available in California :)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Cinemaverite1

                                                                                                                                                                  That is great news. I drank about twelve of them in four days when I was in Catalina with my family last year. After seeing your post I checked and can order them on line. Thanks for the info.

                                                                                                                                                            2. For me it is Squirt, Diet Dr. Pepper, and nearly any red cream soda.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                                                                                                Squirt! Totally forgot! My first fave-
                                                                                                                                                                Thx for the memory_

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: miikimama

                                                                                                                                                                  Squirt is fantastic with gin... oops, TMI? We used to buy it all the time in Mexico so we still pronounce it with the Spanish "e" sound at the beginning :-).

                                                                                                                                                              2. In the Houston area HEB, Central Market and Target are carrying Italian import sodas, blood orange, pear and all sorts of interesting flavors. Very good stuff and habit forming..

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jetlag

                                                                                                                                                                  target "archer farms" brand also has a blood orange soda thats really really good!

                                                                                                                                                                2. maybe not the "best" but a favorite of mine so far has been the Sarsaparilla i picked up randomly on sale at Target. i haven't been able to find a decent one, and that ones pretty good!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Anyone remember when Tab came in flavors? I KNOW I remember there being an orange, root beer and some black (cherry, maybe) beside the original cola but no one else seems to remember this. Am I nuts?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Mine are:

                                                                                                                                                                      Coca Cola - w/cane sugar even better
                                                                                                                                                                      Pepsi
                                                                                                                                                                      Mt. Dew
                                                                                                                                                                      Vernors
                                                                                                                                                                      Sprecher Root Beer
                                                                                                                                                                      Goose Island Root Beer

                                                                                                                                                                      1. For me...Coke, Izze, Citra, Ting, and the original Slice soda...when it really did have fruit juice in it. Also...Wegmans Supermarket has an Italian soda called "Frizzante" which is fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I'm pretty addicted to Guarana (from Brazil)
                                                                                                                                                                          and when in Japan, Calpis Soda is really good.

                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foreignmuck

                                                                                                                                                                            RC Cola, had a bite that made your eye's water, but so good.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: otps

                                                                                                                                                                              Ah, RC Cola - when Coke and Pepsi was just too pricey.
                                                                                                                                                                              Very tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: foreignmuck

                                                                                                                                                                              Another vote for Guarana (Guarana Antarctica is my brand of choice, and since I live in a part of Boston populated largely by Brazilians, it's available everywhere), and also Polar Orange Dry. Polar has also started a line called Polar Classics, made with sugar and in glass bottles -- the root beer is shockingly good.

                                                                                                                                                                              But as a native Texan, Dr Pepper will always be closest to my heart.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foreignmuck

                                                                                                                                                                                I've been mixing (Calpis which is now) CALPICO w/vodka, water & ice these days. CALPICO (along w/other beverages from around the world) is readily available @ CostPlus.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: OCAnn

                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow forgot about Calpis Water. You're taking me back with that one. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I LOVE Fresca with a splash of grape juice.

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                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know if this counts as a soft drink (there is a separate thread on CH about that) but my favourite bottled drink as a young 'un was a Mexican chocolate concoction called a soldado. No idea if it still exists...

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I grew up in Providence, RI and my favorite soda was Nugget Orange Soda. It came in clear bottles and it said "Good As Gold" on the bottle with a pick-ax and a piece of gold picture. I used to get it at Tony's Market on Broad Street. It was the best orange soda ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm from North Carolina and we just call it drink, as in when you stop at a store and your daddy asks, "you want a drink?".
                                                                                                                                                                                    Blenheim's Ginger Ale (both mild and hot) from South Carolina...Really good mixed w/ gin
                                                                                                                                                                                    Sidral Mundet (Apple Soda) from Mexico
                                                                                                                                                                                    Cheerwine (glass bottle w/ cane sugar) from North Carolina
                                                                                                                                                                                    Crush Strawberry Soda
                                                                                                                                                                                    Pepsi in Glass
                                                                                                                                                                                    RC when you can find in glass
                                                                                                                                                                                    Coke in Glass

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: scuffletown

                                                                                                                                                                                      OMG i used to love Crush Strawberry Soda when i was a teenager. Just the thought of it now makes my teeth want to fall out, lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. does anyone make a diet grape soda?

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beelzebozo

                                                                                                                                                                                        There's a brand of soda sold here in NYS called "Polar". Don't know where they're from or where they ship, but they make a very good diet grape soda.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beelzebozo

                                                                                                                                                                                          Diet-Rite makes a white grape soda.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. My sisters loved RAMUNE from Japan (I preferred the candy version).

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Not a soda or pop by def (whichever that would be), but certainly a soft drink:

                                                                                                                                                                                            Apfelschorle. Half apple juice, half sparkling water. The best dang thirst quencher after water.

                                                                                                                                                                                            (as a kid, I loved canada dry wild cherry, welch's grape soda, dr. pepper, and mountain dew. go figure)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                              Guilty pleasure: Mountain Dew Slurpee on one of the three really hot days we get in a Vancouver summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I'm also a Ting fan! Ting & Absolut is my fav summer cocktail.
                                                                                                                                                                                              DG Jamaican Pineapple Soda - cannot eat Jerk or peas & rice without one!
                                                                                                                                                                                              Cheerwine - takes me back to my Southern upbringing
                                                                                                                                                                                              Stewart's Oranges N' Cream & Key Lime are both delicious, I use the Key Lime to make a great pound cake (similar to a 7-up Cake)
                                                                                                                                                                                              Cheers!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Wow five years from the first post. I don`t think anybody has mentioned Brio Chinotto. It is a nice spicy cola like drink we get at some pizza places here in the Toronto Canada area. When I was a kid in Quebec there was a soft drink called fresca . . . and another called wink . . .both were nice and sour and both came and passed very very quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Alacrity59

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I vaguely remember Wink - it really did have a short life! Was it another grapefruit flavored soda? Fresca was huge for years. In those days nothing was "sugar-free" - it was on a special shelf in the store for DIET items. Which included melba toast, sugar-free jello, special canned fruits & vegetables with less sugar added, and not much else!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Apparently Wink lives in certain areas of the US and Canada produced by Canada Dry. The flavour is Grapefruit/Orange. It was discussed in Chowhound article 100674. Fresca also still exists produced by Coca Cola. I've seen neither of these products since the 70's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Alacrity59

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wink lives on in Mexico too, or at least it used to. Very tasty (with or without gin) but also almost unrecognizable when pronounced by a native Spanish speaker...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Alacrity59

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I loved Brio as well when I lived in SW Ont., have never seen it or anything like it in the States. It's great with pizza, better than Coke by far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Alacrity59

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, can't believe it took this long in the thread for Brio to show up. Definitely the best pop to drink with pizza, by far... well, it IS Italian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I used to like Fresca, when there was still a non-diet version - now it seems you can only get the diet stuff, yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I still like any good ginger beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. RC used to make a cane sugar cola called RC Draft. Sadly, has not been available for several years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Others I enjoy:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jarritos Tamarind or Grapefruit
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jones Vanilla Cola
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mexican sugar-sweetened Coke. You need to read the labels now, though, as some of those glass bottles now have HFCS in them. Grr.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MsRetro

                                                                                                                                                                                                        You have read my mind. Jarrito Tamarindo and Sugar-sweetened Coke! My Jones is Cream Soda - mmmmm.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have to add a Jamaican Ginger Beer to the list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MsRetro

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I remember RC Draft - I was with my girlfriend at the time and we went to catch some concert at the Hollywood Bowl with a couple she knew that were friends of hers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          We had a picnic beforehand and the guy had ended up snatching the very last bottles of this stuff called RC Draft, claiming it was completely different from the Pepsi/Coca-Cola crowd and even the flagship RC. He generously let us have a sample and oh, my, that was so good. Alas, any attempts to find the product on shelves around my nabe shortly thereafter went for naught.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know that the international portion of the company has this thing called RC Icon - I'm not sure if its that formulation under a new branding or something completely different (or a little of both)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: josquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're probably talking about RC Cola, which is made by Dr. Pepper, and should be easy to find, despite spotty distribution. You can order it over Amazon, I believe, or it's often stuck with the generic soda. It's the type of thing that turns up at 99 cent stores, or supermarkets known to carry more off brands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Ale 8 One

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. cheerwine. its totally the best. hard to acquire outside of the south, but its awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. That would have to be... Vernor's Ginger Ale!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As a kid, I didn't even know what ginger ale was until I got ahold of this stuff back in 1970.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Summers in Orange, California were hot and smoggy. That meant that the garage fridge would have to be stocked with soft drinks for us kids. We called it "Burn-er's", because back then, the only thing that "burned" more, was sneaking a swig of whatever dear 'ol dad was drinkin'. Whew!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This puts Vernor's in a category all by itself: Hardest Soft Drink ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The drawbacks to enjoying it in the new millenium:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The store has to stock it - Albertson's seems to consistantly carry it. If you haven't tried it. Good luck finding it, but it's worth the search.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I try not to buy aluminum-canned anything - I've never seen Vernor's Ginger Ale in a glass bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Vernor's has been around since before Coca-Cola and Pepsi. On July 5, 2008 the Vernor's name will be merged into Dr. Pepper and 7-up. Maybe the new owners will see fit to put the "good-old drink in a brand-new bottle".
                                                                                                                                                                                                              It would look great in a "Mickey's"-shaped tumbler...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jef G

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've mentioned this in other threads, but in Windsor, Ontario, some local golf courses serve a "Brown Cow", which is an equal mix of Vernor's and commercial chocolate milk. You have to add the Vernor's very slowly, because it fizzes like crazy, but it's creamy, cold, fizzy, and has a bite all at the same time. Great summer time drink!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KevinB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  KB,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At my course, we used to drink Chocolate Cow and Cream Soda......When CC became unavailable. it was then Yoo-Hoo and Cream Soda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Like chocolate egg creams.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another popular sodas in country clubs, way back when, was No-Cal......especially the chocolate and coffee flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. IBC root beer or Canada Dry ginger ale! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Boylan's Birch Beer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. From the '50's - GRAPETTE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And they're still around under Sam's branding, but alas! only in cans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.grapette.com/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Does anyone remember a fruit punch-edy soda called Tahiti Treat?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My sister and I were really into it when we were little, but I haven't seen it in years. It was super-sweet and would likely make me gag-ish now anyhow, but it seemed so great when we were little.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rabbit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tahitian Treat, made by Canada Dry. I also loved the stuff as a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rabbit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My sister and I loved it as well! They also used to sell a Tahiti Treat slushie at Petro gas stations in the summer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for the memories!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pinkprimp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            OMG I totally forgot about Tahititian Treat!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Rabbit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Great stuff. I buy it from WalMart here in Cali.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Ecto Cooler!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I just had Orangina for the first time. It was delicious - I loved the fruit juice w/ soda and pulp. Yum. Does anyone know if they make a diet version?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                salsailsa mentioned a diet version of Orangina upthread in May 2009 but said it was only available in Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. HeySong Sarsaparilla from Taiwan - if Western root beer and sasparilla drinks are "creamy", HeySong sarsaparilla is crisp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Apple Sidra from Taiwan - love this apple soda. I tried Manzanita Sol, the Mexican apple soda, and prefer Apple Cidra. Again, it has a nice crispness. Hard to describe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mitsuya Cider - ramune without the fancy bottle!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huaqiao

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Remember the Jin Che brand soda commercial set in the Alps with people dancing about and clinking mugs of thirst-quenching Apple Sidra? (Maybe not, it was on in the early '80s.) Yes it is remarkably good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Cactus Cooler - orange pineapple soda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aspen - Apple soda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. cactus cooler and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    aspen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the best circa 1979!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bprecie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll jump on the Aspen bandwagon -it was the best soda EVER! I do want to try Ting now thanks to this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My grandparents used to keep small drinking glasses (large enough for ½ cup of liquid) in the freezer. As a special treat for my sister and I, my grandmother would take out two of the frosted glasses, fill them to the brim with ice cubes, and serve us ice cold ginger ale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I will never forget the sparkling sensation of drinking ice-cold ginger ale and the bite of the ginger as it sprayed and tingled my lips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I’m sure my grandmother bought the standard ginger ale that’s manufactured by Coca-Cola, but out here in Dubai I recently discovered Schweppe’s ginger ale. It’s very good and has been giving me regular Proustian flashbacks to my grandparents’ house in Baltimore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Schweppe also has a soda/tonic water flavour called bitter lemon. It reminds me of drinking gin and tonic without the alcohol, and I enjoy it very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Cheerwine from the Carolinas. I'm the fourth to endorse it. It's "sort of" like Dr Pepper, but not as pruney.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Buy it here:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.getsomecheerwine.com/produ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. RED BULL COLA!!!!! and Cheerwine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: stricken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Red Bull Cola, Rockstar Cola & Jolt!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I'm really into the north goose? rootbeer.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Had one earlier, and it's fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. The *original* Barq's Root Beer - brewed and bottled in Biloxi, MS. Wonderful taste. Loved the bumpy bottle too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have to agree with the original Barq's and the old Barq's Red Cream soda, which they quit making when red dye #2 ( i think) was pulled off the market.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fresca
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My mom used to love Dr. Nut and Mr. Pibb and of course Coke out the old 6 oz bottles, those were a treat for us at grandma's house for Sunday dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Squirt; my drink of choice during the wretched Phoenix summers growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. I very rarely drink it, or any soda for that matter, as an adult, but every once in a while, I'll give in. It never disappoints.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Triple XXX RootBeer you could find it in East. Texas...bottled by Dr. Pepper Waco, Tx Sad no longer available...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. To anyone who has ever lived in Scotland all I can say is...Irn Bru! This stuff is crisp, sweet and full of carbonation. It's so popular that the last time I was there a restaurant was serving Irn Bru ice cream and it wasn't too bad. My husband says it tastes like bubble gum...but he's American. I think in most places there it might be more popular than Coke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grouper

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's fabulous stuff and, with respect to your hubby, tastes bugger all like chewing gum. Best out of the glass bottle and you're right it more than holds its own with Coke in Scotland. It's also expanding rapidly across the UK due to some really memorable advertising campaigns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Other favourites of mine are Barrs American Cream Soda and Vimto. Lovely stuff!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: stilldontknow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Vimto!!! I love it so much that it's my profile pic., lol. And it is hard to get in SW Missouri. I notice too that they've changed the recipe... It's a lot more orangey than it used to be, less berry-like. It is a sad change : (

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. In southern CT many people think Foxon beverages are up there with the best. Too many delicious flavors, thought, to pick just one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. This is an obsure entry that only people who have been in central Ontario's cottage country may recognize...I love Muskoka Dry Ginger Ale...lovely gingery taste. I have to admit, I'm sure some of my love for it is nostalgia for my wonderful childhood summers at our cottage on Lake Muskoka and the many times during that time my brothers and I would enjoy Muskoka Dry...a real treat!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Avery's Beverages in New Britain, Connecticut makes some of the best-tasting white birch beer I've ever had. Their cream soda is better than their root beer. They also have a novelty flavor, "Virginia Dare," which is a uniquely-flavored citrus-based soda that's very refreshing yet stands up to good vodka very nicely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the '70s in Westport, Connecticut there was a restaurant that was like a turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor. They offered a beverage called an "orange phosphate." Boy, oh boy was that good. Apparently it's carbonated using an alternative to Carbon Dioxide, and the effervescence is unique. The soda was redolent of the oils contained in orange peels. I've never found another soda that's even close.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Polar brand makes clear birch beer, I just saw some at Hannaford last night., and for those who don't know, it is flavored like checkerberry or wintergreen. The one that reminds me of root beer is Sarsaparilla ("sassparilla") I like Moxie, too

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. PA Dutch: Birch Beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - crack in a can!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MattInNJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes PA Dutch Diet Birch Beer is very good. Always get some when I go to to local PA Dutch stores that carry it. Not that I don't like Diet Root Beer and Diet Coke too

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Pepsi LIght. What ever happened to the stuff? I also liked Mr. Pibb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Unlike other topics on this board, this questions actually has one and only correct answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coke in small returnable bottles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Soup

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Remember those tiny cube-shaped dorm "fridges" from college? At Tulane in LA, everyone bought one of them, even though they ended up freezing everything. So my first day there included the MOST AMAZING semi-frozen, slushie-like Coke in that small returnable bottle. I remember that wonderfully refreshing drink now 25 years later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Although I still hold that Pepsi-Light was better (unfrozen, of course).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Orangina, Tahitian Treat, Grape Nehi, Orange Crush, Sundrop, Schweppes Ginger Ale, Goya Ginger Beer, Red Rock Ginger Ale (my favorite!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Sunkist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cream soda
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Barq's root beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fresca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How about a Fresca?!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.classicmovies.org/sounds/f...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CajunJacques

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I love Fresca to this day as well. Very refreshing and not as sweet as some fruit soft drinks. The OP reminded me of something I had a million years ago as an "exchange student" in Montréal and loved: biere d'epinette - spruce beer - also refreshing, sort of the retsina of the soft drink world, a slight resinous note.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Ale 8 1. And I'm continually frustrated because I cannot get it unless I'm driving to the East Coast and stopping off in Kentucky. So, I usually only get to imbibe once at year, at best, but the flavor haunts me all the rest of the time...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A few favorites... Moxie (sadly unavailable where I live...but maybe for the best since I've heard they reformulated it to make it sweeter. Too bad...);
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Manhatten Special Coffee Soda; Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray (I really don't understand some people's aversion to this one...seems to me if you like ginger ale you should like this, they taste somewhat similar).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My all time favorite was Vernor's Ginger Ale...still available but like many 'legacy' brands, it is unfortunately a pale shadow of its former self since it was drastically reformulated in 1991. The difference was immediately apparent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just saw your Vernor response-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sure you are right Prof.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cel-Ray a good one and I do like Fresca but the old school Vernor's was Special!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did anyone mention-egads? Tab???? Dr. Pepper is a big one but not mine thought it is tasty_

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: miikimama

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Very glad you mentioned TAB. I always liked it...quite frankly, I always thought it tasted more like real CocaCola than the dreadful and insipid Diet Coke does. A couple drops of lime juice (to make it slightly more acidic) makes it even closer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thing is, I don't drink TAB or hardly any so called "diet" sodas anymore...I'm convinced that the artificial sweeteners are a LOT worse for me that some sugar once in a while.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I wish that VERNOR's would go back to their original formula now that stevia has approval for food use...it was an important part of that drink's character.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Vernor's!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            C'mon guys and gals!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My husband grew up in central Connecticut and swears by Avery's sodas which are made in his hometown of New Britain. On a nostalgia tour last summer, we stopped by Avery's and sampled their Birch Beer and several other flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Nothing really exotic here... not in any particular order either...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ale-8-1 from Kentucky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Schweppes Cream Soda from Hong Kong (it's different from cream soda here... American CS tastes like vanilla, Canadian CS tastes like bubble gum)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Guarana Antarctica from Brazil

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ooh, I loathe Guarana. Toooooooooooo sweet for me. Blech :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Rondo. A mid-1980s Australian import. Very popular for a while, then disappeared. I have no idea why.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The tag line: "Lightly carbonated so you can slam it down!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I miss Grapette in the tiny bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Anything from A-treat, but especially the black cherry and grapefruit. We'd go to visit grandma in PA and bring back cases to keep down cellar and dole out one ..... a ..... week for my brother and I to split.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. OMG yes, the best in little glass bottles!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I used to love Faygo cream soda. Remember the TV ads that asked, " When was the last time you had a real good slug of red pop?" Ahhh! Those were the days .
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now that I'm a bit older, I think my current secret favorite is Mountain Dew. Of course in public it's Diet Pepsi. But I still have a nostalgic fondness for Faygo red pop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. In the more refined categories, I agree that a good birch beer or sarsparilla is probably my favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you want to get a little more blue collar, I really love the Chek orange pineapple and the peach. It's sold by Winn-Dixie, a chain of supermarkets in the south that really isn't known for its classiness. The fruit sodas are extremely sweet. I think the peach has either 200 or 210 calories per can! I love my sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I do love an ice cold Mountain Dew on a hot summer day, plucked right from a cooler of ice. But even better is the Mountain Holler. It'sa knockoff sold by Sav-A-Lot, a total ghetto grocery store, at least around here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: slopfrog

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nehi Peach. Preferably with barbecue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Ski Soda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.myskisoda.com/index.html

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. milkis, get it from the korean store. I only drink original because that's what I grew up drinking. Tastes like yogurt mixed with sugar mixed with sprite mixed with sugar and more sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Am I the only one who enjoys the cloyingly sweet taste of HFCS vs. sucrose? I love how the sweetness sticks to my tongue, almost like honey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Come to think of it, honey sweetened sodas would be very interesting, and also very expensive. Has anyone ever seen one of these?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: slopfrog

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Some, though admittedly I don't know of any off the top of my head that use honey as the exclusive sweetener. Sprechters Soda uses honey (http://www.sprecherbrewery.com/soda.php) as does thomas kemper (http://www.tksoda.com/our-sodas/purel...) (the same brand you can find in the cafes of most Borders Books branches) Also there is Dominion Root Beer and I'm sure many I have either never heard of or am forgetting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. if you're still living in Mass, birch beer is still made by the Polar Co. of Worcester. If you're still looking for Moxie, find your nearest Stop & Shop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. original coke...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mountain dew..and the orange mountain dew
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ibc root beer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      barqs root beer if ibc is not available

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and i remember birch beer from when i was a kid also...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Here comes the French contingent, Orangina light; not gloppy sweet and plent of pulp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Nobody's mentioned Sarsaparilla, the way it's supposed to taste. I remember an excursion I had in a nearby park in upper Manhattan when I was a child. We went to a concession stand and I can still remember the Sarsaparilla as being the best drink I ever had. Later, there was the Hoffman label soft drinks and they also had a good Sarsaparilla, not to mention other great flavors that you can't get today. Anyone remember Hoffman's sodas?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. "Aspen" apple flavored soft drink. I miss it so!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My most fun drink was the super-powerful home-brewed root beer my father made that blew out all the bottle bottoms while curing. What a mess and what fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Delaware Punch. Ice-cold. On the beach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. When i was a child, I loved Wink, a grapefruit soda. I wish I could get it today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Today 'Gini'. Decades ago Orange Crush in the brown bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. In the Northwest, Portland Punch - a blackberry-flavored concentrate - was a staple in holiday punchbowls. Don't know if it still exists, I've never seen it in the Bay Area. It sure was good.