Five Favorite Retro Sodas

Categories: Top Five

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I remember as a young child visiting Bread & Circus in Boston and marveling over the fact that the world of soda comprised more than just Coke, Sprite and root beer. Now, I'm a bit more cosmopolitan when it comes to carbonated beverages, and I'm currently obsessed with retro sodas. (Probably have been watching too many reruns of Mad Men and That '70s Show.) Anyway, here are five of my favorites.

5. TaB. According to my mom, some women subsisted off TaB and little else during the '60s. I tried it when my local market was out of Diet Coke during Hurricane Ike and found the flavor grittier and less fake-sweet than other diet drinks.It's not a party in my mouth, but it certainly hits the spot when I have to get up at the ass-crack of dawn on a hot day.

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4. Orange Crush. Orange is my favorite color and I generally love any food or drink of that hue (be it natural or man-made). Although I generally try to avoid HFCS, I make an exception for Orange Crush and, on very special, very classy occasions, mix it with a bit of dark rum for a tropical cocktail.

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3. Moxie. I'll admit I like the name and label design just a bit more than the flavor of Moxie, which to me tastes like an half bitter, half sweet herbal witch's brew. It's relatively obscure 'round these parts, so having it in your fridge might score you points for being worldly, though many New Englanders grew up on the stuff.

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2. Jolt. As a non-coffee drinker, I rely on tea, soda and water to propel me through extended work sessions. But let's face: even yerba mate doesn't cut it when you're seeing double at 2:30 in the morning. Jolt carried me through many an all-nighter in high school and college, and it's a damn shame the cola has been largely replaced by a sleek new energy variety.

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1. Mello Yello. So much better than Mountain Dew (which, haven't ya heard, lowers sperm count?). I love the crisp citrus taste, appreciate the sizeable caffeine content, and have great fun slurping it through a straw while singing that famous song.



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27 comments
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Jack Highberger
Jack Highberger

How about Clearly Canadian? My brother and I used to love sampling the seemingly endless variety of flavors on our summer vacations. I mean, Loganberry? So exotic to a 9 year old.

missXminnie
missXminnie

I remember Slice served at all of the god awful birthday parties. Maybe that was just a Mexican thing.

ostiones
ostiones

Delaware Punch available at James Coney Island.  You can even buy a bottle of concentrate to take home.

John Davis
John Davis

Jolt... all the sugar and twice the caffeine! Oh, memories of junior high...

mildrednelson24
mildrednelson24

"123 Samples" is promoting a new line of detergent, tooth paste, lotion etc by giving away free samples. It’s more of the “try it before buy it” marketing model and who can resist a free useful household product like detergent?  This free sample is limited to one per household and only available while supplies last.

bibulb
bibulb

While it's not THAT retro (although it's been fifteen years now...) and it never made it to Houston, I enjoyed OK Soda. While I liked the marketing angle (disaffected hipsters, buy our soda ironically), the soda itself was actually pretty darn good. 

favouritethings
favouritethings

While not regional...or anything else ... if I see Materva, I buy the entire shelf. Oh Alief. Oh Fiesta.

Yumyum
Yumyum

Not exactly a soda but how about a Hawaiian Punch?

In my day it came in a tin can.  It was sweet and sour and metalic tasting.  And you used the pointy side of the bottle opener to open it.  And you had to open the can TWICE or the juice wouldn't come out of the can.  And if you poured it into a glass it would dribble all over the counter and stain the Formica red.  And then mom would have to scrub the counters with Comet to get the stains out. 

So how about a Hawaiin Punch?  Sure!!!!

iMidget
iMidget

What about the various quality flavors of Shasta?!?!

laurenmacqueen
laurenmacqueen

Jolt is fantastic, but my heart will always belong to Crystal Pepsi. Soda of the Gods.

bibulb
bibulb

HELL. YES.

Gods, that stuff was wonderful.

Cheflambo
Cheflambo

Wow ... is Jolt still out there?  Wish it had been around during my college days -- it would have been better (ok, at least legal and less hardmful) than some of the other things I ingested to get through those all-nighters.  I might have actually studied too. 

Guest
Guest

Royal Crown, anyone?  (Moon Pie optional)

sunflower seed
sunflower seed

Love Royal Crown and the original Frostie Root Beer. I know they're still around, but was better back in the day

lucky_bamboo
lucky_bamboo

What about Nehi?  When I was a kid, it wasn't officially summer vacation until my cousins and I went to the nearest country store and got the first of our many Nehi sodas.  My favorite was peach, but grape and strawberry were awesome.

Guest
Guest

Dang straight.  Pass the peach Nehi.

LizB
LizB

The only thing I can think of when it comes to Boston and soda is Polar Orange Dry,  mmmm the most delicious in the history of sodas.  Regional & Retro.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Jolt isn't retro.  And Mello Yello is a knock-off of Mellow Yellow.  And where's Squirt?

Laurie
Laurie

You must be from the midwest. I am still sad that I cannot find Diet Squirt here. My mom buys a case whenever I am coming home to MI.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Laurie, you are correct.  Although I have moved around a bit, I did spend a lot of my childhood in MI.

Keeping on topic, my favorite retro soda is Vernor's.  It's ginger ale aged in oak.  You can get it around here; I've seen it at HEB.

Joanna O'Leary
Joanna O'Leary

Katherine: Thank you!

Laurie: Born in D.C., raised in Pennsylvania, lived in Boston for 10 years, 5 years and counting in Tejas...

Megan
Megan

YES.  Squirt is awesome!!!

Hugh Ramsey
Hugh Ramsey

I drank a lot of Minute Maid Orange soda in 1987

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