Regional Soft Drinks

Great nostalgic article (although those of us born and bred in Philly always knew it was pronounced Wish-NEE-ack :wink:

Bummer that it is no longer offered in bottles–cans were an option only for school trip lunches. But I agree with the article that Stewart’s is a pretty good replacement option (for less sweet options like root beer).

Oy. We now hear birch beer calling us. Last able to answer that call out West at Frank & Terresa’s in Buffalo, and pretty close by – Eroquois Keg at Schwabl’s.

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For those who enjoy unusual and hard to find sodas there is a wonderful shop in Los Angeles. They will even ship!

For a brief time CH had an excellent video series called the Obsessives. This is an episode about the soda shop:

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I used to pass through Winchester Ky occasionally and would stop to pick up some Ale-8-one – it’s among those pictured in the pic at the top (I would also stop in Lexington or Louisville and search out good Bourbons at Beverage Barn, where I got Noah’s Mill and was even able to sometimes get Pappy Van Winkle off the shelf back in the day before it became crazy famous, but that’s a subject for another thread). Of course now living in NC there’s always Cheerwine but everybody knows about that one. My sweetie is from Detroit so of course she wants Vernors occasionally, preferably fortified with some decent rum; fortunatelyVernors is fairly easy to find even in Florida where we have winter digs. And who among us can forget Nehi Grape soda from our childhoods.

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What area? I’m in the Triangle!

I’m way over west in the mountains, 1 hour + past Asheville; actually we’re almost as close to Atlanta as A’ville (not quite, but…), and we go to ATL for shopping/doctors/whatever far more often than we go to Asheville. But if you’re ever in the vicinity, give a shout.

Folks don’t realize how big NC is, east to west anyway. About 550 miles from Murphy to Manteo as they say. Our house in FL is near St. Augustine, and we can actually get there in about the same time as to the OB.

You live in two of my favorite places! I almost moved to Brasstown since I had many friends associated with the folk school. I lived in St. Augustine briefly for some college work.

When I lived in WNC I could go to Atlanta fairly easily for food shopping several times a year. There is no direct route to Atlanta from the Triangle unfortunately. I miss Your Dekaalb Farmers Market!

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I still sometimes hit YDFM, but nowadays mostly stop at Buford Highway Farmers Market. BHFM has expanded its offering in recent years, and every time I’m standing in front of its fish counter, for example, I think to myself I’d be there on a daily basis if I lived closer. Bourdain made a stop there and IIRC so has Zimmern. This is not to take anything away from YDFM which I understand is in the process of a massive expansion (a million sq. ft. give or take) so the outcome of that should be interesting; the main problem is traffic getting there, since the local streets are old and narrow and very congested – how they will support this expanded version I don’t know. In any case, it does show why going to ATL rather than AVL is the usual strategy for me. In addition to those two there are several other “Farmers Markets” worth a stop. Atlanta is really rich with Asian and every other type of food.

BTW, to be specific I’m in Franklin, so not too far from Brasstown. In Franklin we have the main retail sales outlet for Brasstown Beef, which is a local grass fed producer. They are small enough that you can go in there and get them to do custom cuts sometimes – I have gotten them to cut out oyster steaks for example. Small town living.

Sorry for going so far off topic!


You can get Fentiman’s at Cost Plus/World Market. GF liked the Dandelion & Burdock; I found it medicinal.


Manhattan Special, an espresso soda still made in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Strong and sweet. I know of 2 Sicilian (not Italian) restaurants in Brooklyn who have it as a fountain soda. Here in the Bay Area, BevMo! occasionally has it, and I’ve also found it in random places like that chocolate shop in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland.

Do not get the diet version, or god forbid the caffeine-free one.


I’ve only had the bottled version and love it. The fountain soda is now on my must try list!

Cotton Club in the Cleveland Area. They have very catchy commercial jingles.

The only two places I know who have it, both in Brooklyn, are Ferdinando’s Foccaceria and Joe’s of Avenue U.

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The Fentiman’s I really like is the Rose Lemonade, especially good with gin in the summer. You can get Fentiman’s all over the place, even in supermarkets around here.

Now there’s one I like, though not as much as Mr Rat does. He always makes sure to have it around. Of course there’s Dr. Brown’s for local NYC sodas. I do prefer Cel-Ray to the other flavors although I understand I’m in the minority in that. BTW it also works well with gin, maybe that’s why, LOL. Iconic as the NYC Jewish deli soda since it was the only Kosher soda for years, apparently. And they only recently started selling it in regular stores, you had to get it in the deli.

Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry and a pastrami on rye–a combo made in heaven that I miss a lot.


That sounds excellent. I’ve never had Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry (apparently still available at Target), but Thomas Kemper also makes a great one.

Our local brewery makes pop too:

It used to contain real cherry juice–don’t know if it still does. Cheerwine is a pretty good cherry soda too.

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I grew up in Michigan and Ohio. I really miss Vernor’s ginger ale. We have family who live in Florida and Virginia. They always bring us some when they visit us but we can’t buy Vernor’s in Massachusetts…I was so psyched to order it from a vendor from Michigan on Amazon. He threw the loose cans in a box with no packing. Some were dented and empty. Never again!!

Contact the shop in the “Obsessives” video I linked to above. I’ve ordered from him and the goods were packaged beautifully - no issues whatsoever! I would think he has Vernors - he has more than I’ve ever seen!

Also, if there is a World Market/Cost Plus store in your area take a look. (It is similar to Pier One but with some edibles.) They often have hard to find drinks and condiments.