Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Moxie


Those who grew up in New England in a certain time will certainly remember Moxie.

They may not remember the taste of it - who actually ever drank it - but they will recall its existence.

Although I use the word "soft" advisedly, Moxie is a "soft drink".

I did taste Moxie once, and I remember the taste as somewhere between shoe polish and Listerine. It is, we are told, and "acquired taste," but I've always wondered just who would want to acquire such a taste.

Well, the Cornucopia Beverage Companies of Bedford, NH may not have acquired the taste, but it has acquired the company, and will attempt to revive the brand. (Just running an open bottle of Moxie under the brand's nose might be able to accomplish that feat.)

The acquisition was reported in a recent Boston Globe article by Jenn Abelson, which also tells us that Moxie once "outsold Coke nationally" (oh, those were the days), and was reportedly the drink of Calvin Coolidge. (We already knew that it was the drink of Ted Williams, since you find repro signs with Ted endorsing Moxie all over the place in this region. And Ted did have a good head on his shoulders when it came to endorsements....)

One of the present-day Moxie-cates talk about it as "root beer on steroids" and "a very powerful flavor."

It would have to be powerful to do what it originally claimed to, which was "cure almost any illness, including paralysis and 'softening of the brain.'"

Moxie was put to different uses at the recent Moxie Festival in Lisbon Maine, where Maine's state beverage was used to make muffins, ice-cream, and pizza - all washed down, presumably, with a big slug of Moxie. (The Moxie Festival also featured fireworks, a firemen's muster, a Civil War re-enactment, and a duck race.)

If you're curious to learn more, here's a Moxie-related site for you.

As for me, I've made all the fun I'm going to about Moxie and I'm going to go out and demonstrate my regional loyalty by buying a six-pack and actually drinking some of the stuff. It can't be any worse tasting than Dr. Pepper.

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A little Moxie story: When my cousin was looking through her mother's things, she found that, during the first world war, the Rogers family had adopted a local soldier and sent him letters and little things to cheer him up. The soldier's name was Moxie Winn, and if ever there was a quintessential New England name. It's either pure Yankee or truncated-at-Ellis-Island ethnic, but can't you just picture the feisty (little) guy who bore it? Anyway, my then 7 or 8 year old Aunt Margaret embroidered a pillow for him that said "Come back safely, Moxie Winn." I hope he did. If there are any Moxie Winn survivors out there, I'd like to know.

1 comment:

Mark Cahill said...

Moxie - "when you need to vomit and there's no ipecac around"

Disgusting stuff. Fit neither for man nor beast.

It reminds me of the Pabst Blue Ribbon my college roommate drank. When he saw people at a party drinking pabst, he knew the party was over because they'd started to drink his beer. Similarly in most households Moxie will go unmolested until virtually everything else is gone.