Have you ever tried Cheerwine? I look my first sip a few weeks ago, after spying it at Blue Apron Foods in Park Slope.
Despite the name, there’s no alcohol here, just a bright (one could also say, cheerful) burgundy color reminiscent of cherries. This extra-fizzy, cherry-flavored soda from North Carolina, has a long history; the same family has been overseeing its production since 1917. The kind that comes in a retro bottle, like the one above, uses cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, which is probably why it tastes about 10 times better than Cherry Coke. Available only in the Southeast until just a few years ago, various versions of the soda pop can now be bought online.
Cheerwine has such a cult following in the Southeast that chefs and food bloggers developboatloads of recipes around it. How about some Cheerwine ham? Or Cheerwine caramel corn? You can also try your hand at Cheerwine ice cream, pound cake, and baked beans. And of course, being a true product of North Carolina, the soda needs to be the star ingredient in a barbecue sauce.
And even Krispie Kreme jumped on the Cheerwine bandwagon with a Cheerwine-filled doughnut a couple years ago, but apparently forgot the filling in certain batches. I would stick to homemade Cheerwine goodies instead.