Gimme Some Sugar: “Throwback” Sodas to Savor Year-Round

There’s been a lot of talk in the geek community lately surrounding Pepsi’s “throwback” sodas.  Essentially, they’re putting out a version of regular Pepsi and Mountain Dew that will use cane sugar (the original ingredient) instead of high-fructose corn syrup, which has been used since the sugar price scare a few decades ago.

Don’t get me wrong – I support this, though I don’t actually drink Pepsi or Mountain Dew.  I’m a sucker for the retro packaging, and I feel that if I’m going to drink soda at all, might as well go whole-hog and have straight sugar.   However, the throwback sodas will only be around for a limited time, and I thought it might be fun to spotlight sodas that use cane sugar all the time.   They might be more accessible than you think, and you can buy them year-round!

Bulldog Root Beer – Ah, my all-time favorite root beer.  They use granulated cane sugar and honey.   Sadly, they aren’t available everywhere, but if you live near a Cost Plus World Market, they’re your best bet.  Don’t be confused by the label – those are American Bulldogs, not their more familiar cousin.

Dublin Dr Pepper – This is in Texas, not Ireland.  They’re the oldest Dr Pepper bottler in the world, and the only ones who use the original Dr Pepper recipe.  You can order their sugary goodness by the case, in can or bottle, but personally I’d like to someday take a tour of their museum and gift shop at this Dr Pepper mecca.

Jones Soda – In 2007 they retrofitted all their equipment to make the sugar switch, and now this is probably the most easily available cane sugar soda – I’ve seen it everywhere from Target to Panera.  Not only do they have nearly a dozen flavors of pure cane soda on the average day, but between Halloween and Christmas they often have truly crazy flavors that would fit in at Willy Wonka’s factory.

365 Whole Foods Soda – The “house” brand of Whole Foods, 365, has only cane sugar in their soda line, which has flavors ranging from ginger ale to black cherry to key lime.  Not everyone has a Whole Foods nearby, but they are certainly becoming more commonplace.

Regional/Seasonal Coke and Pepsi – This Throwback brand isn’t the only time you can find sugar in a major cola.  Around Passover, both Coke and Pepsi often offer Kosher versions of their main sodas, which means they use sugar.  Additionally, many Mexican bottlers still use sugar, so you can often find Coke with sugar near both sides of the border.

This is only a small sampling of sodas made with cane sugar.  Many regional brands use it as well; for some reason, finding root beer with sugar is often easier than finding any other flavor.  If you have a regional favorite, feel free to let me know!  I love trying new sodas when I’m on a road trip.

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