Ironbeer (South Florida): Popped into a Publix in Key West for a gigantic bottle of water (Guys, it can get SERIOUSLY hot in the Keys. Like surface of the sun hot. I almost died when I tried to go on a bike ride. And stand outside for more than three minutes.) and stumbled upon Ironbeer. Aah, Serendipity. (Remember that movie? How good was that movie! So good.) Ironbeer kind of tastes like a cherry-ish Dr. Pepper, but sans the caffeine, which is a real bonus for yours truly. (For real, does it SEEM like I should have caffeine? Nope. Not a chance.) First sold on the streets of Havana in 1917, and considered something of a national beverage for decades, Ironbeer and its owners were exiled to Miami when Fidel Castro started nationalizing private businesses in 1960. You can still find it in Southern Florida and, of course, the e-webs, where George has lovingly procured several cases for me. He really is top-notch. As is Ironbeer.
Cockta (Countries in the Former Yugoslavia): Aaah, Cockta. Or Communist Cola as George lovingly named it when we encountered this beverage in Slovenia. He almost barfed when he took a sip; I thought it was delicious. Kind of….Ricola cough drop meets a watered-down Coke? Intrigued? You should be. Cockta was Yugoslavia’s attempt to create an national, natural, carbonated beverage all its own, rather than bow to Coca Cola, that bastian of Western greed and capitalism. And let me tell you, they done good. Cockta actually has a super interesting history, particularly in regards to massive advertising campaigns built around it, not something traditionally seen in socialist states. Today, the product is kind of marketed as a retro throwback, “the drink of our youth.” Yummy!
Black Cherry Wishniak (Philadelphia): What, you didn't think I could ignore this gem from my own backyard, did you? I won't easily forget the day when George came tearing in the front door, fresh from a grocery store run, all worked into a lather because he'd found Black Cherry Wishniak. What now? Apparently that's wish-nee-yak for those of us not familiar with this legendary Philadelphia beverage. Now bottled by Canada Dry and, from what I can tell, only sold regionally, this delightful concoction was first produced by Frank's Beverage in Philadelphia in the 1950s, its name inspired by the Eastern European cherry liquor called, you guessed it, wishniak. I don't care what it's inspired by; this stuff is mighty tasty. Plus, you sound cool saying its name. Wishniak. Wishniak. I think that's what we call a win-win, people.
So tell me? What local/regional/global sodas do you love and adore? I'm gonna start a taste-testing bucket list!