Every state has a soda they call their own. For North Carolina (and apparently Virginia), it’s Cheerwine.
Before we continue, let’s all admit one thing. Cheerwine is awful. It’s carbonated cough syrup, without the cough syrup benefits (containing a cough, making meth, etc.). Most of you will disagree with me, because as North Carolinians, this is your drink. You probably remember having your first Cheerwine in a sippy cup. Your grandpa used to buy them at the sodee shop for a nickel.
I get it. I’m from Texas, where Dr Pepper is crack. Sure, Dr Pepper has more national appeal, thanks to better marketing and a cooler name. But let’s all admit another thing. Dr Pepper is awful, too. Despite its claim of 23 flavors, it’s basically Cheerwine mixed with RC Cola. It’s like drinking sugar, and there’s nothing worse than Dr Pepper breath.
But back to Cheerwine. This summer, Cheerwine introduced a new flavor — combining its syrupy cherry flavor with the mainline sugar taste of another North Carolina favorite, the Krispy Kreme donut. Cheerwine Kreme sounds like a diabetic’s worst nightmare. The creation of a dentist’s mortal enemy.
A coworker brought a bottle of it to the office this week, accompanied by a dozen cupcakes for another coworker’s birthday. Again, I’m no fan of Cheerwine, but it was free and unopened … so I took a chance. I poured the pink concoction over ice in a red Solo cup and prepared for the worst — expecting the mouth-puckering reaction one has when they shove a finger full of cake frosting in their mouth.
But I didn’t pucker. My reaction, instead, was one of surprise. A raised eyebrow. A second swig. Then a third.
It’s as if the “kreme” served as the perfect balance to bittersweet edge regular Cheerwine throws at you. I’d describe the taste as a cherry-flavored cream soda. And I’m a fan of the cream soda.
Ladies and gentlemen, Cheerwine Kreme ain’t bad. It’s not something you’d down after a marathon or pair with the perfect steak, but as a once-a-month option you might have at a kid’s birthday party or a random picnic, do it.