I'd pretty much given up trying to recapture the flavors of my childhood--the candies and chewing gums are either vanished or modified to include "corn sweetener" (even the name sounds unappealing). But on a recent trip to Mexico I re-encountered the grapefruit soda, Squirt. It tasted just like I remembered it from my Minnesota youth. Too bad they didn't have Old Dutch Potato Chips to go with it.
I looked for it here in the supermarkets and at Total Wine, but I haven't seen it. Anyone have any leads? Failing that, is there another grapefruit soda that tastes like Squirt?
There is a Safeway house brand that is grapefruit flavored soda. Peapod.com stocks it, and it looks like you have Peapod available in the DC area.
I have fond memories of keeping a case of Squirt under my bunk in the barracks, to mix with some Seagrams VO.
Squirt is a brand of Cadbury Schweppes and is said to be available in the US, but I don't know where. The CS website lists contact information out of their beverage HQ in Plano, TX. Perhaps they can steer you in the right direction.
You may want to try TING as an alternative. TING is a grapefruit soda made in Jamaica and it is available in many US beverage outlets and Jamaican restaurants. It's pretty good.
Squirt is readily available most anywhere in the US, I'm quite certain. I know it is here in LosAngeles. However, as you say, it is now using HFCS, as do most sodas. Mexican-made sodas usually do not use the HFCS, so that's why the one you drank there tasted as you remembered from "back in the day". If your area has a Hispanic grocery store, try there...they sometimes carry the "imported" version of the American brands. I know the stores and restaurants here do.
As for the Old Dutch.....try to find an online source...they are out there!
Not sure if I've actually seen the Squirt product, but many Salvadoran markets carry a variety of Fanta's, they have a grapefruit drink also.
I've found Boylan's grape soda in a few places locally -- I *think* it's made with cane sugar (some of their other sodas are), although I don't have a bottle handy to check the ingredients). Boylan's makes good sodas, in general.