Yeah, yeah. I know some misguided people call it pop, but I call it the correct thing: soda. I took a look at this map and it just confused me, so I clicked out of it. I can’t tell if I’m in the pop belt or the soda band, or where exactly I fall geographically. All I know is… I don’t like pop. My dad says that for some reason. It has a distinctly Ohio feel to me. And I can’t have that. Actually, when I was a young hillbilly child, it was just coke. All sodas were called coke, with a lower-case c. So it would lead to scenarios like this:
Person one: What kind of coke do you want?
Person two: Sprite, thanks.
But that shit doesn’t fly everywhere, so I’ve adjusted to soda. And I’m comfortable with that. I’m just going to continue with soda.
I try not to drink it much, because it’s “poison” according to my jaunty far-too-casual doctor, but when I do have a soda I tend to go with one of these three:
Dr. Pepper — I remember the first time I ever tasted this stuff. I was a very young kid, in the break room at my mom’s job. They had an open-top cooler full of sodas in there, and she told me I could have one. I chose a Dr. Pepper and it tasted like some sort of medicine. Blecch. But I’ve grown to love it, and it’s number one on my list o’ favorites.
Mountain Dew — Adam Carolla calls it “nectar of the ‘tards” which I don’t appreciate. I like it because it tastes good, quenches your thirst (unlike many sodas), and packs a powerful caffeine punch. I joke at my job that every bottle should have a phrase printed on it: The Official Drink of Night Shift. It’s helped get me to 1:30 am many times.
Root beer — If I’m in the mood for a Dr. Pepper and they don’t have it… I’ll go with a root beer. I like a good root beer. In fact, I started drinking fancy-pants craft root beers for a while. There was one made by the Appalachian Brewing Company that was nothing short of kick-ass. A lot of the high-end stuff taste like black licorice, or wintergreen, though. I prefer the classic taste. Ya know? I don’t need pourable licorice, thank you very much. It’s like Jagermeister without the alcohol.
And when it comes to cola, there’s only one choice: Coke. With an upper-case C. My answer to the “Is Pepsi OK?” question will always be, “Oh God, no. I’d rather drink raw sewage.” You can take your Pepsi and ram it deep and on a slant. I wouldn’t mind tasting an RC again, though. When I was a kid RC was a major player in our area. It felt like they were on the same level as Coke and Pepsi. And they had all their subsidiary sodas, too. Like Diet Rite and Upper 10 and Mr. Pibb. Heh. All that stuff seems to have fallen out of favor. I’m sure it’s still available, but it’s considered off-brand at this point. But I’d like to taste an RC again, just for curiosity’s sake. Coke, however, will always be the cola of choice.
I have a strong anti-Pepsi attitude, but wonder if I’d be able to tell the difference? Needless to say, I believe I could. Maybe I’ll go over to Sheetz and buy a bottle of Coke, Pepsi, and RC and do a blind taste test? That would be fun. Stay tuned for that. I’m going to do it. Maybe over the weekend.
Also, just like with Dr. Pepper, I can actually remember the first time I had a Sprite. It was at a motel in Florida somewhere, and I was a little kid. There was a vending machine there, and I rolled the dice on some mysterious elixir known as Sprite. It tasted fantastic! A huge upgrade from the more familiar 7 Up. I rarely drink it these days, but when I do… I’m transported to Florida, circa 1970 or whatever. So, Dr. Pepper and Sprite left the biggest impressions on me, for some reason.
And one more… Which rarely-seen soda will you ALWAYS go with when you see it? Fresca falls into that category for me. I never see the stuff, but I love it. It’s also in the Sprite/7 Up/Sierra Mist realm, but not exactly. It’s its own thing. I’m a big fan of the Fresca, but don’t encounter it very often. Also, it feels less-than-manly, for some reason. Am I wrong about that? It feels like a lady soda to me, for some reason. Heh. But I’ll drink it every time I see it. Good stuff.
What are your thoughts on this important topic? Are you a pop or soda person? Or is there some other phrase you use? Like, according to that article I linked to above, tonic. WTF?? I’ve never heard that in my life. A lot of older people used to call them soft drinks, but I’m not a fan of that, either. Do people still say that? I think they might, but I haven’t been paying attention. What are your top 3 sodas? Or top 10, I don’t care. And your cola of choice? Also, do you remember tasting a particular soda for the very first time? Where were you, etc.? Please tell us about it. You don’t have to answer all these questions, of course. Just pick and choose. There are no official work instructions on this stupidity.
There is, however, a new episode of the world-famous Jeff Kay Show available, wherever you get podcasts. Or right here. And this is the summary:
In this one, I deliver yet another stale and out of date weather report from the suburbs of Scranton, PA (!), wonder why in the hell gnats exist, tell you about my efforts to be accepted into the deli culture, the bored girl who draws eyeballs, eavesdropping on 45 year olds obviously on a first date in a Mexican restaurant, another terrible visit to Walmart, an important text message I received from The Beer Lady, and the final season of a fantastic comedy I’m watching on Amazon Prime. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening!
I was supposed to meet Steve for lunch today, but he canceled. So, I cranked this one out thinking I had major time constraints. Oh well.
Have a great week, my friends!
Now playing in the bunker
Support us by doing your shopping on Amazon! In Canada? Here’s your link. Thank you, guys!
Although now I haven’t had a soda (coke) in years.
I have been off the Pepsi-sauce for almost ten years.
It’s co-cola, thank you. In public Coke, but that’s always seemed a little druggie. I am a diet Tonic with 2 slices of lime fanatic. Kroger diet is the best. Damn those $3 each Fever-Tree and such. Coke Zero for special occasions (fast food burger.) I’m pretty sure I’d drink my own pee before I would drink a Pepsi.
We grew up in a very economically depressed time and Faygo was the standard “pop” if you had a quarter at the carry out. The fancy “company’s coming” pop was always Pepsi. Aside from a 4 or 5 year addiction to saccharine containing Diet Coke, my personal preference is always Pepsi. Every time I drink a Coke it just tastes…. tired, like it had just passed its prime sitting in some forlorn cooler in an auto junkyard. Don’t even get me started with the exclusive SODA contracts the businesses sign down here in Florida I cannot find a Pepsi or Mountain Dew anywhere near the hospital complex where I spend a majority of my days.
The Qweezy Mark says
While I have not had it in quite a while, I, too enjoy the shit out of “the Fresca.” I think it was originally advertised as a “diet drink” to young women. That’s likely where you get the poofter feel and I understand that.
Otherwise, Coke Zero or Diet Dew for me.
Sebastian Valmont says
My favorite soda is Dr Pepper, and my favorite of the big three is Coke. I almost exclusively drink diet soda now, but nothing is better than an ice cold Mexican coke (with cane sugar) as a treat. Fresca is also delicious, a truly underrated soda. TaB is probably my favorite diet soda, then Coke Zero. Can’t stand Pepsi; it’s too sweet, undercarbonated and boring. Coke has a bit of spice to it, I’ve always wondered what they added to make it so good.
I’ve lived in Texas for most of my life and it’s always been coke.
What kinda coke do you want?
I remember my grandparents in Tennessee calling them cold drinks.
Sun Drop, when I can find it
Once had a co-worker who called it Sody-pop. So there!
I grew up with pop but sometimes drift to soda.
I’ve said this here before; my favorite is Diet Vernors. Vernors is the oldest soft drink in the US and originated in Detroit. It’s the only ginger ale that is worthy of the name. Vernors is to Canada Dry or Schweppes as Guinness is to Coors Light.
After that it’s Diet Coke. So much the better if it’s out of a freestyle machine and I can add some vanilla.
Lastly, another hometown “brew”, Faygo Creme Soda. Just good stuff. It’s always a welcome find.
Years ago I used to call on the original Faygo plant in Detroit. As you walk in you’re hit with this sweet, spicy smell that’s indescribably good.
I drifted into saying pop somewhere in my teens. Probably an elder influence. I’m pretty sure that is not where I started. We were a Pepsi family.
Diet Mountain Dew is my drink of choice at work and with a little jet fuel after work. If I have a curfew then Diet Rite (no caffeine and made with Splenda, so very healthy I like to believe).
If my local Kroger’s doesn’t have any Dew, I’ll go with the Kroger Diet Citrus Drop brand.
But cool, cool water still ain’t bad if thirsty.
When I was little, in the reddest of redneck little towns, we always called all the drinks by their names, never using “coke” as a generic. We called Coke “Cocola” and it’s still pleasingly nostalgic to say the word. Coke was the clear favorite, with Dr. Pepper right up there at the top.
Mountain Dew was good, back when it had the hillbilly with the jug printed on the bottle, but nowadays it feels harsh, possibly disintegrating my stomach lining.
The old Orange Crush in the brown bottles was also a favorite. When poured into a glass (almost never done) it was surprisingly colorless, with only a mild yellowy tinge from the natural flavors. I didn’t like it when they stopped the brown bottle thing and bastardized it with the bright orange dye.
Pepsi was never in the favored category. There was always a mild resentment over any restaurant that offered only Pepsi. If there’s a really good sale on Pepsi at the store, I’ll buy it by the 12-pack, but a couple days later I’m thinking, “Why did I buy this shit?”.
RC Cola always tasted like a store-brand version of Coke to me. Maybe better than Pepsi, but why bother?
Seven-Up and Sprite never did much for me, and invariably cause hiccups for some reason. Not worth it.
Vernor’s is really good, but a little high-priced (never on sale in large volumes) where I live.
I believe that the Midwest begins around Pittsburgh, because that’s where they start saying “pop”. To me it’s always been “soda” because I lived east of the Hudson until age 28.
A rarely-seen soda I will always go with is Old Tyme Jamaican Style Ginger Beer. Available at Platt’s Place, a sandwich joint in Albany NY, among others.
My dad had a story of doing a Chevy Chase-style driving vacation when he was a kid, in the summer of 1941. The family drove from Connecticut to California in the 1937 Suburban, before there were Interstates.
He said they stopped for gas in North (or was it South?) Dakota, and encountered a mysterious beverage called Dr. Pepper. They asked the resident Old Man of the Gas Station what it was, and he replied that it “tastes like a low grade of prune juice.”
Not Oprah says
Diet grape is at the top of the list for me but seeing that is mostly impossible to find, I discovered that the Koolaid grape liquid flavouring and club soda are an excellent substitute (as well it costs less).
Diet 7-up is second. When I was in Asia last year, I was on a bus ride that was supposed to be 12 hours but got stretched into 20 (never, ever again)!!!. There was no bathroom on it and bathroom breaks came every 2 hours usually with less than desirable conditions at 36C. I refused to eat or drink anything as I was suffering from a stomach ‘condition’ and would only rinse my mouth out with water occasionally on the breaks to keep myself sane. The girl sitting in front of me was constantly throwing back icewater and slurping on a delicious mango. It was torture – for hours all I kept thinking about was 7-up slurpees. When I finally got to my destination I ran to the nearest 7-11 and all was then well. Which reminds me of a travel trick I picked up a few years back. Because I am very directionally challenged and my GPS doesn’t always cooperate, when I am wandering out and about in a big city, I count the number of 7-11’s I pass from my hotel and this helps me find my way back.
For Colas it’s diet Dr. Pepper if that’s a cola.
‘Pop’ for me.
Phil Jett says
Pop for me. The dad of one of my best buddies growing up was a big shot with General Cinema which at the time was part of the same company as Pepsi and Wilson sporting goods. Free pop at that time meant Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Country Time Lemonade, Sunkist sodas and many other odd ones. It also meant free Titleist golf balls. The way I played in high school the free balls was a big deal. They also had the Pepsi logo in the bottom of their built in pool and pop on tap with their own soda fountain machine. Those were the days.
Now I only drink water unless I have a hankering for some root beer. I stick with my old time favorite Frostie.
1 Icehouse Edge
2 Mountain Dew
3 Mountain Dew Black Death
Sorry all, but i’m a Pepsi girl! I remember my mom always had glass bottles of the stuff when I was a kid. I rarely see those anymore, but there was nothing better! Plus she always let me keep the change from recycling … funded quite a few candy sales in my youth!
Nowadays I’m totally soda-free, but still wax nostalgic for glass-bottle Pepsi!
PS – It’s always been “soda” for me, but many of my northern relatives use “pop”. 🙂
Some folks in Tennessee called it a Dope. When I was a kid a station in Knoxville advertised ” come down and git ‘ur Big Orange Dope” Orange being UT’s color.
I rarely drink dopes because my family got me a soda machine. I drink fizzy water now.
Nectar of the ‘tards, funniest thing I’ve read all morning.
The best SODA ever is Cactus Cooler, an orange and pineapple blend that is mainly sold on the West Coast.
I think of Judge Smails from “Caddyshack” when I hear Fresca.
Coke is my soda of choice. I don’t drink sodas as much as I used to, but on occasion I will throw back a can of Coke in the morning while the coffee is brewing. Something oddly satisfying about that mix.
Up here in Canada, we never really had our own ‘pop’. I thought RC was Canadian for the longest time. I guess we had Mr. Soft Drink. Does that exist down south? It was a lot like RC and felt very off-brandy.
For some reason, we seem to be associated with ginger-ale (Canada Dry!), but my friends and I only drank it when we were sick. Somehow, it was supposed to have some sort of curative qualities, but we don’t have waving fields of ginger here in Canada, so I don’t know where that came from.
Sadly, as an adult, I’ve realized how many calories are contained in pop and I don’t drink it much. I’ll have an occasional Coke Zero, which is taste-adjacent to real Coke, so I can recall those thousands of childhood Cokes I consumed. We’ve been getting Mexican pop up here in some of the hipster places and I’ll enjoy the hell out of one of those weird tropical fruits like guava or mango or whatever. And I like a cream soda every now and then, especially the clear kind for some reason. Something feminine about drinking pink drinks, I guess.
It’s coke. What kind of coke do I like best? Dr
Pepper, then Mountain Dew (it really did get me through many night shifts) then one of the Fanta flavors. Cherry, peach, maybe raspberry. I also like Sprite. I despise Sierra Mist now that it contains Splenda. If I wanted a diet drink I’d ask for a diet, don’t freaking decide for me.
Diet Coke is my go-to when out and about, but my canned preference is a local store brand knock-off called “Diet Original Cola.” I describe it as a “drier”, less sweet Diet Coke. By “drier,” it seems less fizzy than Diet Coke without coming across as flat. Does that make sense?
My second option is Dr Pepper, which was my growing-up favorite. Now that I’m growing more “out” than “up” I switched to Diet Coke. At non-Coke serve-yourself places I get a mix of 2/3 Dr Pepper and 1/3 Diet Dr Pepper.
Pepsi always tastes like it has dirt in it.
The only time we got Mountain Dew was when we’d go on long road trip vacations. I don’t know why my parents thought it was okay to give my sister and I that caffeinated sugar bomb and put us in the back of a station wagon for hours on end, but they did. I don’t think they had any idea it was that loaded.
And they’re all cokes.
The Qweezy Mark says
Hey C1, you by any chance in TX? “Diet Original Cola” sounds like HEB to me! Here in Austin I like their “Zero Original Cola” which to me is just as good as Coke Zero. Love their tiny ice cold cans for a pick me up after lunch.
Yup. West Texas, to narrow it down geographically. HEB is our mainstay. Fun fact- I’m originally from the suburbs in the DFW area known as H-E-B so it always seems weird to think of those letters in a non-hometown context.
They’re all cokes down here in Texas. Being type 1 diabetic I have the non-sugar drinks now… Coke Zero is my go to, with Diet Dr. Pepper in a close second (it’s the home town drink having grown up in Plano and now living in Waco). If I had to pick a 3rd it would be plain old iced tea.
Back in the late 90’s I was in Russia for my senior trip. The West was slowly making it’s influence, but it was hard to find anything that felt like home outside of a McDonalds (which didn’t taste like home!). I was walking through Red Square after visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and Lenin’s embalmed body when I saw an old Russian lady with a variety of things for sale on a table. They were all neatly arranged and stacked, and the thing on top of a large box in the middle of the table was one lonely can of Dr. Pepper. Needless to say my friends and I started a bidding war and drove the price of THE Dr. Pepper in Moscow in the summer of 1999 up to 250 rubles… as I recall it was about $10. I’m happy to have been a part of teaching the poor Russians about the wonders of capitalism.
JeffB Spence says
It’s a 20oz bottle of Diet Mountain Dew for me first thing in the morning (I don’t ever drink coffee, so this is the way I get my first jolt of caffeine) and then basically Diet Coke throughout the day. Usually after dinner if I’m going to keep drinking soda (and I want to get any sleep that night), I switch over to the caffeine-free version. There are always a few 2-ltr bottles of each in the fridge.
For the most part, non-diet soda has been limited to use as a mixer for me for a long time now, but I will order birch beer in a pizza place if they have it. That goes back to my favorite summer pizza place on the boardwalk when I was a kid. The adults got pitchers of actual beer – the kids always got a pitcher of birch beer. I can sometimes be talked into root beer if birch beer isn’t on the menu, but it isn’t as good, somehow.
And the one soda that I would always order if I see it is Suburban Club Almond Smash. Another soda from my childhood in Baltimore, it was bright red in color (permanently staining your clothes if you spilled any) and VERY sweet. I don’t think it had any almond taste at all – the only thing that’s ever come close to it was Big Red (another local soda) when I visited Texas. It disappeared in the early 80s, and then popped up again about five years ago, but only at a regional supermarket chain. Then those supermarkets themselves went out of business, and the Almond Smash disappeared again. Kinda a Holy Grail of Baltimore-based sodas.
Chad Wallace says
Jeff, we have to agree to disagree. To me Coke tastes like pisswater.
I’m a Pepsi addict. Since I don’t drink coffee, figure it can’t be TOO bad for me to drink 3 cans a day.
As an ex-Chicagoan, its always been ‘pop’.
We have a local pop in central Illinois called ‘Ski’. Its a poor man’s Mountain Dew and dang good. It must have something like 5 million mg’s of caffeine, because one 12 oz bottle and I’m dancing around more than Michael J Fox (no disrespect meant to MJF, or as Mojo Nixon calls him, the anti-Elvis).
My 3 – Pepsi, Mountain dew/Ski, and Diet 7 up (mixed with vodka).
How ’bout a Fresca…
Stuart in Oz says
Here in Oz we don’t use pop or soda – they’re “soft drinks” or Coke or Fanta etc I drink Beer!
I worked for a global company in the 90s. Every time I’d try to call our Sydney office on (their) Friday afternoon, my small IT staff there would be busy with tinnies, and unable to take my call. Someone finally explained to me that EVERY Friday in Oz is Good Friday. But they were fine bastards, every one, so I just accepted the custom.
Tinnies… the boats or the beers? Possibly both, I’m thinking.
Could have been beers in boats, but I suspect that occasionally it was beers in the conference room. In any case, there were always beers involved. Hey, in a global company you have to respect local customs.
I guess stubbies were banned on safety grounds.
I don’t drink soda with sugar in it any more, Coke Zero is OK, so is diet 7-Up.
Kas Limon is the best soda on the planet, Spanish and sold in Spanish speaking countries, but sadly not Mexico as far as I’ve seen. An ice-cold Kas Limon in the sun.
I’m not a huge soda drinker, but I like ginger ale and Dr. Pepper.
When I was a kid in the late 70s, early 80s there was a green apple-flavored soda called Aspen. It was far and away the best soda I’ve every had. If I could have that stuff, I’d probably become a 47-year-old lady with the shuggahs.
Here in New England – specifically the Boston suburbs – the old-timey people call it “tawnic”. “Ya havin’ a pahhtee? I’ll bring the tawnic.” It’s about the most Boston thing you can say.
Coming from NJ, I call it soda. And I have the same tastes as Jeff. BTW, Dr. Pepper is the official soda accompaniment for cigar smokers, just in case you were wondering.
Late hubby’s father drove a Pepsi delivery truck, so he grew up on it and wouldn’t switch. Me, I prefer Coke. If I can’t have that, it’s water or sweet iced tea. When I was young, we had a local bottler, Crystal Beverage, and at Christmas time my parents always picked up a couple of mixed cases. We’re talking cherry, lime, birch beer, root beer, cream soda, grape, orange. All those fancy ones they now sell in little bottles that cost you $3 or more. Crystal’s came in 24 ounce glass bottles, and didn’t cost much more than that for a full case. Grew up with “pop”, but now call it “soda”. And I won’t drink Coke from a can, ruins the taste.
Soda…..pop is a dad or granddad. Dr. Pepper definitely #1 choice on the rare occasion I allow myself a soda. If just drinking a cola, then it’s Pepsi for me. But Coke is surely the smoother mixer.
I’m a Coke guy. If we have pizza or hamburgers then I have to have a Coke.
I also like 7-Up, Sprite and Sierra Mist and Dr. Pepper.
But I don’t drink them that often…
Root 66 says
Uh-oh, a little late to the game on this one, but I call it “pop” here in Ahia! I’ve always preferred Pepsi, but can drink Coke in a pinch. Here are my top picks:
-Mountain Dew (the regular, but I also prefer the “Code Red” and “Live Wire” versions, too!)
Pop I always get whenever I have a chance:
-Frostie Root Beer–It’s the best root beer I’ve ever had, and it is not always readily available in the Buckeye state!