I lived for pop long before I was able to gorge myself on beer. I was an aficionado of sorts, and attempted to try all the soda I could as often as I could. Many of my favorite pops as a kid and a young adult have since gone the way of the Dodo; disappearing into oblivion. Sometimes a few make it back for another life, but, like the ten here on this list, many have faded away only to survive on Ebay and web sites. Enjoy them here, while they last.
10. Coke II
So, back when Coca Cola started to slump a little in sales to its fiercest competitor, Pepsi Cola, someone made the executive decision to dink around with Coke’s secret formula thereby making it taste more like, well, PEPSI. It wasn’t bad, per se , but it sure as hell wasn’t Coke. I remember consuming mass quantities of this stuff by can and, the newest form of container: 2 liters. This was an early eighties disaster and it always managed to make an appearance at our sleep-overs and it did a fine job of keeping us wired for hours. I think it had more sugar as well. I really do miss this stuff, but sadly, when Coke went back to its ‘Classic’ formula permanently, Coke II disappeared into soda oblivion.
9. Hubba Bubba
The strongest memory I have of Hubba Bubba Soda is from high school. We, in the ass-backward, dirt-water, shit-hole that is Paw Paw Michigan, used to hold school-wide contests involving all manner of self-deprecation. One of the ‘games’ was the infamous ‘Pop Chug’. The teaching staff that came up with this gem were sick and evil sadists of the highest degree. Everyone would stand over a beach towel with a ‘spotter’ on one side and commence to gulping as much warm Hubba Bubba Soda as humanly possible. Loads of fun. I was never a big fan of this gum-flavored pop, but it does hold certain high esteem in my clogged memory bank.
8. Pepsi’s Wild Bunch
Just in case the images aren’t clear, we’ve got: Raging Razzberry, Tropical Chill, and Strawberry Burst. I love how Raspberry is cleverly misspelled into ‘cool’ territory with the two ‘Z’s. Very nice. Anyway, The deepest remembrances I have of this particular trio was the chilling innards of my grandparent’s ancient refrigerator in their garage. It was one of those ‘chill chest’ types with the giant metal walk-in-restaurant-freezer style of handle and enough wattage to cause neighborhood brown outs. Yeah, that thing was always chock full of every conceivable beverage from beer to Bosco . Every time we’d visit we’d try to find the most odd drink we could dig out of there and I quite fondly remember tossing back a few of these guys. Dead and gone now. No, not my Grandparents, but the fridge and the soda, for sure.
Though not out of circulation as long as some of these, Surge has still become a classic to many a pining American. Coca Cola distributed this green soda for quite some time. I can remember it coming in to its own right around 1995 or so, and really building up steam for a few years before succumbing to the popularity of other, weaker, beverages. It had a citrus-like flavor to it but there was something almost lime-Jell-O-ish in the back ground that would always leave a little tang phlegm at the back of my throat. But it was pretty tasty and I could knock back a 2 liter in a sitting no problem. Almost, but not quite, melted candy.
Leed was a carbonated lemonade drink sold in some parts of the world during the middle to late 20th century. It was produced and distributed by Coca-Cola Amatil only in New Zealand and Australia. Leed was one of the staple drinks among New Zealand retailers during the 1980s and was probably the most common lemonade drink distributed by Coca-Cola Amatil during its life. In 1984, Leed was discontinued and replaced by the more widely known Sprite brand. Accompanying this change was also a new recipe.
This was a pretty recent extinction as well. I remember drinking a few of these back when Guarana was the new kid on the beverage block being marketed by Coke as the energy source of choice. Josta was so chock-full of the stuff you could, in fact, taste it. It was a tad medicine-y, but that flavor was nicely buried beneath the strong fruit and spice overtones that assaulted your taste buds moments before. This pop was far different taste wise than just about anything else out there, and it was pretty decent while it lasted.
Oh yeah, soda with little chewy chunks in it. Outstanding. Somehow, the creators of this beverage managed to thwart the normalcies of science by allowing starch nuggets to suspend themselves ever so beautifully in a super-sweet solution. It was really good, too. I remember Target selling the hell out of this stuff for quite a while. I enjoyed the drinking part, but somehow, coming to the little lumps floating there in was a lot like drinking a glass of gravy… except a lot sweeter. I do miss it.
Kick was a lot like the bastard step-son of Mountain Dew and Mello Yellow. It tasted really similar to both, but almost leaning a bit toward Mello Yellow with its citrus overtones. I actually preferred it over either and would go through a case of this stuff during my late night Dungeons and Dragons marathons. I think it may have made a bit of a come back lately, but not around here. Too bad.
Slice was the precursor to Sierra Mist by the Pepsi corporation and for my buck, it tasted a whole lot better. My grandmother, in her massive fridge of holding, used to keep a constant supply of the Mandarin Orange flavor of this stuff. I hate mandarin oranges in any form, so I stuck to the lemon-lime standard and all was good with the world. There was something less overpowering about Slice as compared to 7-UP; not quite as crisp, not quite as effervescent, but certainly just as tasty.
1. Crystal Pepsi
I was in college in 1993 and this soda was a huge hit up at Northern Michigan U. in Marquette, Michigan. My room mate and I loved the stuff. We could get it at the local Circle K for like $2 an eight-pack of 20-ouncers. I honestly loved this stuff, I would drink the HELL out of a few packs per week. I remember one time I tried to be cool by slashing open the plastic yolk that securely held together the octuplets with my X-Acto knife. Bad idea. I ended up cutting two of the bottles and sprayed soda all over our dorm room. Not especially funny. Anyway, there was just something about the non-caramel colored Pepsi that really appealed to me. I miss this the most of all.