Right in my Own Backyard by Brandt Carter - A Toast to Sentimental Favorites
posted: Jul. 30, 2020
Remembering warms my spirits and helps me put life in context. What's more, the experience is free. Memories surged as I recently tucked my grandchildren into bed on my night to baby sit. We had taken the kids out for dinner. The place happened to serve root beer on tap. This led to us acquainting the little ones with one of our favorites.
My granddaughter Elizabeth earned a free dish of vanilla ice cream if she finished her meal. Sure enough, she did. Papaw scooped some of her ice cream and mixed it in his root beer ― a root beer float or "black cow" as we were fond of calling this treat when we were her age. Elizabeth scowled not understanding how vanilla ice cream and root beer could be combined. Papaw downed the float, dipped a bit more vanilla ice cream, and went back for more root beer. He came back to the table, his glass brimming with foam―magic foam that results from the two ingredients being combined. After that she had to try it herself. In an instant a new fan of root beer floats was born.
image courtesy of Brandt Carter
This experience set me to recalling other drinks that have gone by the wayside: brown cows (root beer and chocolate ice cream), phosphates (seltzer water and flavors served from the drugstore's soda fountain in a paper cone cup placed in a metal holder), garbage floats (an old TeePee special with all kinds of fruit garnishes floating in the drink), vanilla cokes with cream, Green River soda, Nehi orange pop, and the 5-cent-cup-of-coffee. We also grew up with Coke in bottles that had their city of origin stamped on the bottom.
New drinks I would have never expected while growing up include spring and sparkling flavored bottled waters, "designer" coffees and lattes in the sizes of your choice, and energy drinks. Carrying around a water bottle was unheard of in the workplace or in public. Diet drinks emerged during my childhood. The only thing instant was Kool-Aid. Gone are the days of Wiedmanns, Hudepohl, Drewery, Blatz, Carlings Black Label, and an Indianapolis Brewing Company bottled beer (my great grandfather's business).
So as this New Year has begun, I raise my glass with a toast and wonder what beverages will spring up in the next decade and what drinks will fill the memory banks of today's young ones.