Letters: The Politics Of Naming Beverages

Robert Siegel and Melissa Block read emails from listeners about all sorts of beverages.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's time now for your letters, and today they're all about beverages.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

That's right, there's lots of talk of drinks in the news this week. Yesterday, we covered New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban selling soda in sizes over 16 ounces. We also dipped our toes into controversial waters by running through soda's many names, depending on where you live.

SIEGEL: Some call it soda, some call it pop, and some people just say Coke, even if it's orange or grape or grapefruit. Well, some listeners wrote to add one more name to that list: tonic.

BLOCK: Yeah, it seems tonic was once all the rage among a certain set in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Michael Power(ph) of Boston writes this: I grew up with my parents and grandparents sending me down the tonic aisle to pick up a bottle of Coke or Pepsi-Cola. And while the name may be fading as Boston becomes less parochial, both my wife and I continue to use the term proudly.

SIEGEL: And Jeanette Voss(ph) of Farmington, New Mexico, writes this: I had to chuckle to myself as I listened to this piece. This was the first disagreement my husband and I had, soda for my south California liking and pop for his southwest Wyoming years. And Ms. Voss continues: After 13 years, I think I have won the debate. Our children call it soda.

BLOCK: OK, Robert, enough with the soft drinks and on to the hard stuff. Earlier this week we heard about a liquor that's been banned by the Idaho State Liquor Division. It's called Five Wives Vodka.

STEVE CONLAN: The natural tendency is for people to make the polygamy connection, though we have never done it on our own.

SIEGEL: That's Steve Conlan(ph), he's VP for marketing at Ogden's Own Distillery in Ogden, Utah. That's where they make the vodka. A few of you wrote in to add another to the list of cheeky Utah drinks. Kate Dorton(ph) of Santa Barbara writes: My fave is a brew made in Park City called Polygamy Porter.

BLOCK: Thanks for all of your thoughts. Please send them our way at npr.org. Just click on contact us.

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