The Moxie Dilemma
Some of the most heated discussions that I took part in at Medomak were regarding the peculiar taste of Maine’s official soft drink, Moxie. I was introduced to the soda in my first few days at camp; Dave, our director, was going around documenting the looks on people’s faces when they took their first ever sip of it. Moxie, it seemed, had quite a reputation. What does it taste like? Honestly, that’s something you might have to find out for yourself. Many have tried to describe the flavor, but there’s no way to really understand it without experiencing it. As a strong supporter of the soda, I’ll give you my take. It bears resemblance to a cola or a root beer in the most basic ways. It’s dark and syrupy. The initial taste of it is sweet and earthy, but not fruity. The gentian root, I learned, gives it this unique flavor. Some describe it as medicinal, even, but I disagree. It’s….herbal…or something.
One young camper praised Moxie, saying “it’s like root beer, but 10% better.” This soda review had a slightly different opinion: “The taste of pennies, dirt, and unsweetened envelope glue now dance upon your tongue.” It’s not uncommon to find people whose thoughts on the drink are similarly polarized. You either love it or hate it, it seems. Opinions aside, Moxie remains relevant to us at Medomak because, as I mentioned, it is our state’s official drink. In fact, its inventor, Dr. Augustin Thompson, was born in Union, Maine, only a short drive away from camp. If you’re coming to Medomak, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try the infamous drink, and I, for one, highly recommend that you do so.
Did you know? First manufactured around 1885, Moxie, or “Moxie Nerve Food,” as it was then called, was one of the first ever bottled soft drinks in America. It was one of the chief competitors of Coca Cola and Pepsi, before its popularity dwindled. It remains regionally popular all over New England.