Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

GUEST POST: The Cola Holy War and Marshmallowed Delight | September 27, 2010


Still bumming around out west, apparently looking like many not-so-handsome stars of stage and screen. In my stead, I’m really thrilled to have one of the silverbacks of wine blogging covering for me. Not only is Benito Carter knowledgeable, entertaining, and a very good writer, but he seems to epitomize what it means to be the true Southern Renaissance man. One day, he’s talking about a cocktail made with obscure Chilean spirits blended with heirloom herbs and eleven different types of Amazonian fruit juice to celebrate the birth of legendary bobsleigher Tony Nash. The next, he’s discussing…moon pies. Bon AppĂ©tit!

How do you guest blog at Suburban Wino? Would I use this space to go on one of my rants in favor of the metric system? Would I take the opportunity to bachelor the place up a bit and provide a list of the Top 10 Wines That Appeal To Chicks In Their 20s? Nope, not going to make a mess here, because my mama raised me better than that. I’m just going to jump right in with a controversial issue that tears at the very fabric of this country.

The big sectarian conflict in American soft drinks has been dominated by Coke vs. Pepsi. I remember people who refused to drink Pepsi because they sold their products in the Soviet Union, and thus all Pepsi drinkers were Godless Commies. There are Arab countries that avoid Coke because of the bottling plant in Israel. Much like Ford vs. Chevy, Catholic vs. Protestant, and which way you hang the toilet paper roll, your position on the issue depends on you geographic region and family upbringing.

What is often lost in these arguments is the array of third options that exist, often with their own passionate fan bases. For instance: RC Cola. The RC stands for “Royal Crown”, and the beverage was born in Columbus, Georgia back in 1905. Much later, RC Cola was shilled by no less than Nancy Sinatra. Let’s be happy that it remains a solid performer in a highly competitive market, and that it hasn’t developed an unfortunate demographic like Faygo and the Insane Clown Posse. (This wine blogger is not down with the clown, for any Juggalos that might be reading.)

Quick tasting notes: RC on its own lands somewhere between Coke and Pepsi on the nose test, probably a bit closer to Pepsi. It lacks the bitter bite of Coke but isn’t as sweet as Pepsi, and doesn’t go aggressively herbal like a root beer.

Here in Tennessee, RC Cola is indelibly tied to the Moon Pie, a cookie/marshmallow/chocolate treat invented 200 miles north of Columbus–I’m talking about Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1917. Somewhere along the way the combination of the two products became popular as a cheap lunch, and there’s even an RC and Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, TN every summer. The pairing is even immortalized in a classic song. Jasper from The Simpsons was delighted to discover Moon Pies upon emerging from the freezer at Apu’s Kwik-E-Mart. “What a time to be alive!”

I’m using mini Moon Pies here, but it’s also worth mentioning that RC is also a popular mixer with spirits, particularly at college parties and sporting events. You can be clever and mix the Royal Crown with Crown Royal, but really any of the brown liquors will do. Want to class it up? Use a decent Bourbon and a highball glass. If you’re just looking to have a good time, then cheap Canadian whisky and a red Solo cup are your friends. Finely crushed or shaved ice is best for the latter, because it will water down over time and allow for ideal pacing. You can treat it almost like a snow cone and still get a lot of flavor. Just sipping the cocktail now makes me crave nachos and an overcooked hot dog.

These flimsy plastic bottles don’t have the solid nature of cans or the sculptural integrity of glass bottles, and I doubt anyone will be seriously collecting them a hundred years from now. But the flavor stays the same, and it always reminds me of BBQ joints and gas stations a bit off the beaten path, where you’d have to snap off the bottle cap on a wall-mounted opener or grab the church key hanging from a long chain. Home was Coke, Pepsi was the enemy, but RC was that set of rural relatives that might have had a different last name yet were loved just as much.

Big thanks to Joe for letting me crash on his virtual couch for this post. Peace out, y’all!

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