C is for Cheerwine
I’ll make a confession to y’all.
I have never actually had a Cheerwine.
Of course, I know all about them – they’re truly iconic to Southern culture – the “Nectar of North Carolina” as it were; but yeah, somehow or another, I’ve never actually consumed one of the fizzy, black-cherry “Legends.”
Not that Cheerwine’s gonna lose any sleep over my lack of commitment. According to the owners, the Carolina Beverage Corporation of Salisbury, North Carolina, even without my meager contribution, they’ve managed to become the nation’s “the oldest continuing soft drink company still run by the same family.”
For ages, you could only get Cheerwine inside the Carolinas, or smuggled out a case or a four pack at a time, like Coors beers of long ago slipped out of Texarkana by the “Bandit.”
But to celebrate their 100th year of production in 2017, Cheerwine has partnered with Pepsi Bottling Company to distribute their elixir throughout the entire United States of America.
Their slogan: “Born in the South. Raised in a Glass.”
Of course, while you can raise a Cheerwine as a toast, the beverage itself has no alcohol. It was named because of its “wine red” color and that “cheery” feeling you “get” from drinking one.
Insiders (that is, a former college roommate whose name I won’t disclose) have revealed that the lack of alcohol in Cheerwine can be easily remedied by mixing your cheery cherry soda with a little Captain Morgan Spiced rum, to make a drink called a “Captain Cheerwine,” or the “Whining Pirate.”
Hmm. I’m seriously wondering how I managed to miss this one. I was pretty open minded about aquatic-themed mixed drinks when I was in college.
Oh well, if boozin’ up your bubbles is not your thang, you could still get a sugar rush.
In 2010, Cheerwine began a collaboration with fellow North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, to produce a limited run “cheerwine-cream filled” variety.
I’m trying to imagine what a cheerwine-cream filled doughnut would taste like. I think I’ll limit that to my imagination.
Unless you’d like to pair it with a “Pirate.”
Know this, though: Even if the soft drink reaches all 50 states, there’s one thing we can claim about our Cheerwine that the rest of the country cannot. It tastes like home. It tastes like North Carolina. – Jimmy Thomlin