5 Beverages People Don’t Drink Anymore

  • Case of TaB soda
Case of TaB soda
Credit: PhotoQuest/ Archive Photos via Getty Images

Vintage soft drinks are some of the most nostalgic pieces of cultural ephemera. These mundane everyday items seem to take on a certain mystique once they become unfamiliar relics of the past — there are even organizations dedicated to identifying and recording information about forgotten and discarded bottles. Here are five beverages that are in various stages of acquiring antique appeal, as their onetime popularity has significantly waned, or disappeared entirely.

Credit: Ellen Isaacs/ Alamy Stock Photo


Moxie was developed by physician Augustin Thompson in 1876 as a medicinal syrup. It was made from gentian root extract, an ingredient with a polarizing flavor that is commonly used in aperitifs such as Suze, Salers, and Avèze. Originally called “Moxie Nerve Food,” the strange-even-for-the-19th-century latter part of the name came from Thompson’s belief that the tonic “cured anything caused by nervous exhaustion. It restored nervous people who were tired out mentally or physically.” Between 1884 and 1885, Thompson trademarked the name “Moxie Nerve Food,” mixed the syrup with carbonated water, and bottled it as a soft drink. 

The drink was an immediate success, but just how much of a success is lost to history: Though Moxie is frequently referenced as having sold 5 million bottles in its first year, Thompson’s tendency to exaggerate numbers and make spurious claims (such as Moxie having “cured 200,000 drunks” in Lowell, Massachusetts) casts some doubt on the truth of that company data. But in the years after the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 required the company to shorten the name (as unfounded health claims in advertising were outlawed), Moxie became an indelible part of early-20th-century pop culture: Calvin Coolidge publicly called it his favorite drink, and observed his 1923 inauguration in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, with a bottle purchased from a nearby general store. The author E.B. White once wrote, “There is a certain serenity here that heals my spirit, and I can still buy Moxie in a tiny supermarket six miles away. Moxie contains gentian root, which is the path to the good life.” Legendary baseball player Ted Williams also endorsed the drink, and the word “moxie” itself became a slang word for vigor, boldness, and determination that has entered the dictionary.

Today, Moxie is obscure except in the New England region: As the birthplace of Thompson, the state of Maine has hosted a Moxie Day festival since 1984. The soda was also named Maine’s official state soft drink in 2005. 

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