Saturday, August 5, 2017

Calling it Coke

What do people call that fine carbonated beverage you are drinking?

carbonated cola drink in a glass with ice and a straw
What do you call this drink?
"Hey Joe grab me a coke out of that ice chest".

To which Joe replies "There ain't nothing but Sprite in here".

"Yeah that'll work", Jim tells him.

"But you said to get you a Coke".

"That's because you were right there by the ice chest".

"There aren't any Cokes in here Jim".

"Yes there are, I'll just get it myself".

Jim walks over, opens the ice chest and grabs himself a Sprite.

This is an example of two men raised in different areas, one uses the literal brand name Coke or Coca-Cola, the other just wants a carbonated beverages from the cooler. Get me a coke doesn't necessarily mean Coke.

In the Southern states where I was raised any carbonated beverage is referred to as coke, not Coke the brand but coke the beverage, I guess you just don't hear the lower case "c" when we are talking. But if we look to the Northeast and California soda is the common name that is used, and in the Midwest they call it pop.

That's three different names for the same drink right here in the United States. I wonder how many other names are out there? What about our friends in other countries, like our friends Down Under and in The UK, or our friends to the North in Canada and everyone else around the world? What does everyone call that carbonated beverage that I was raised to call coke?

Half empty bottle of Coca-Cola sitting on a table.
Historically Coca-Cola originated in the South. Confederate Colonel John Pemberton created the original formula at his Eagle Drug and Chemical Company in Columbus, Georgia. He was wounded in the War Between the States and created what was first called coca wine, as a substitute for the morphine he had become addicted to.

In 1885 Pembertons French Wine Coca was a mixture of coca, kola nut, damiana, and cocaethylene (a mixture of cocaine and alcohol), which Pemberton registered as a nerve tonic.

In 1886 Atlanta and Fulton County, Georgia passed prohibition legislation. Pemberton responded by removing the cocaethylene from his formula, and renaming this non alcoholic version after the two main ingredients, coca and kola nut, with this recipe Pemberton introduced the very first version of Coca-Cola, which began selling for a nickel a glass at Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia on May 8th of that year.

Vintage Coca-Cola advertisement beverage for men and ladies
Coca-Cola was advertised as a cure for everything from morphine addiction, and indigestion to headaches and impotence. A refreshing brain tonic so to say that helps with all physical and mental ailments. It's no wonder Coke became so popular.

Ok there is my little history lesson about Coke for today, just look at how far we have come since the creation of Coke, it's no wonder all other carbonated beverages are called coke, in the area where it was created anyways.

Of course I heard brand names growing up and I know the differences between them, but whenever my Mom said, "Hey Jimmy, go and get me a coke out of the refrigerator" I knew to bring her back a Pepsi-Cola because that is all she ever drank, and as a matter of fact Pepsi is still the cola she drinks but she still says "Please grab me a coke."

Cindy on the other hand is a Coke drinker. And growing up with a Father from Michigan, and a Mom from Missouri and being raised in California, she calls it both Soda and Pop, her Dad leans more toward Pop but she leaned more toward calling it Soda.

That is until being around me for this many years, now she asks for a Coke. I know that Coke is her brand of choice but all we have in the refrigerator as most of you know is Shasta, but she still asks for a coke when she wants me to grab a Shasta for her.

I did a quick Internet search to find some answers as to what people from different areas call Soft Drinks.

As we have already mentioned "Coke" is the favorite term across the Southern United States, from South Carolina all the way to New Mexico and even up to Southern Indiana.

They call it "Soda" on the East Coast all the way down to Florida (except for SC and Georgia who call it coke), and the West Coast which includes California, Nevada, and Arizona. Also states using the term "soda" are Missouri, Wisconsin, and Hawaii.

It seems "Pop" is the favorite across the Midwest, and Pacific Northwest, states from Oregon, and Washington and all the way over to Pennsylvania, basically everywhere else in the US.

I started getting vague answers when I began researching other Countries, and from what the fine world wide web says:

Our friends in Australia and the United Kingdom use the terms Fizzy Drink or Soft Drink, and in Canada our friends say Pop when asking for a carbonated beverage.

picture of various cola can tops
I trust what you say more than the www. Tell us what you think, what state, area, or country you are in and what name you use for a carbonated cola beverage?

51 comments:

  1. I've always lived in Michigan and never-ever heard anyone use the word 'coke' for a generic word for pop or soda. Until reading this blog post. I've heard the regional debate of pop or soda, though I was raised on 'pop.' But I vaguely remember seeing signs for "Soda Pop."

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    1. Hi Jean, Cindy's Dad was raised in Michigan and he still calls it pop, I always heard and used the term coke, but SC is a whole different area ha ha.

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  2. Here in Oz we tend to call it by its brand name. Get me a Coke would mean just that. Soft drink is (I think) more often used for non-carbonated drinks like cordials. Fizzy drink works as a generic though. I tend not to drink any of them. Growing up they were too expensive for the family budget and I never acquired the taste.

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    1. Thank you EC, this is exactly why I wanted to hear the answers from all of my friends, some answers on the internet are close but I tend to believe more from people who actually know the answer.

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  3. Soda here in Jersey, and coke means Coke...some people refer Pepsi, I could never tell the difference.

    Remember SNL's "No Coke...Pepsi!"

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    1. Hello Joe, My Mom and Cindy both say there is a big difference in the taste, to me like you it really doesn't matter one way or the other.

      Yes I remember that one on SNL ha ha

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    2. There is a difference in taste, also one is made with red food colouring which caused problems with my younger daughter as a child, so we switched to Pepsi which is made with caramel colouring. Coke leaves a furry feeling on my teeth, but pepsi doesn't so that used to be my choice, but these days I mostly drink water, or soft apple cider, or "traditional" lemonade which is fizzy lemon squash.

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    3. That is really good information River, I never knew that. Thank You.

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  4. Here in southeast Missouri, it's soda. My cousins from Alaska called it pop. We thought that was hilarious.

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    1. If somebody asks for a soda, we say, "What kind?" and then they say the brand name.

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    2. Hello Val, that is actually how it is when we are back home, if someone asks you to get them a coke you ask what kind, but like with Mom when she says to bring her a coke we all know that means Pepsi.

      We know what you want when you ask for a coke...Right?

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  5. Lived in both Ohio and Florida where we asked for it by brand name. Coke meant Coke only. If you wanted a Pepsi, you had to ask for that brand but if you were going out for a drink with a group, you would say, "Lets go get a soda."

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    1. Hi Patti, that makes complete sense, only difference is we say "Lets go get a coke" it appears we are all exactly the same except for one word ha ha.

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  6. I live in California and I call them sodas. I lived in Oregon with I was young but never called a soda pop. Most of the time I call my Pepsi a Pepsi. Funny how everyone has a different word for a soda.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Hi Sandee, Cindy grew up here in California also and it appears soda is the term here, except for the transplanted ones like her Dad and I ha ha.

      Yes you would think there would be one common term for an item like a carbonated drink, but so far it is coming down to three...mainly two but I'm still holding onto mine ;)

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  7. I never called Coke pop. Pop could be anything carbonated.

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    1. Hi Stephen, so I take it Pop is the term mainly used there for a generic carbonated drink?

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  8. I say soda, and I think many younger people in the south now do too as for at least millennials that's the term I've always heard more or less. Pepsi emerged in NC so it's rather strange Coke as a generic term took over the south. I know pop really threw me off. I hate that term with a passion.

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    1. Hey Adam, That is interesting to me that you live so close to where I grew up and the term for this generation has changed to soda, as far as I know my nieces and nephews who are in their late 20s and early 30s still use the term coke, although I may get a surprise next time I go home and hear them say soda.

      I almost wrote about Pepsi's history beginning in NC also but was afraid the post was getting too long.

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  9. Reporting in from Canada...the land of ice and snow except when we're in a heat wave or a monsoon.....as a child I was asked if I would like a 'soda pop' and if so, what kind. Now we just refer to it as 'pop' not to be confused with Dad and again....what kind. Most people ask for exactly what they want, regular or diet and the brand name.

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    1. Hello Delores, thank you so much for bringing us the report from Canada, I have been expecting to hear the term "soda pop" but as you said that was when you were a child, so maybe it's not as common anymore, kind of like Adam said the millennials are now using the term soda in the area I grew up in.

      Like you said most people say exactly what they want, but when referring to a drink in general it is pop in Canada.

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  10. It's interesting that these regional preferences for words still hold on in the era of mass media.

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    1. Hello Jean, It is very interesting to me also, just goes to show that even with mass media we still are individuals, and being individuals have held onto some of our regional ways and customs.

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  11. Northern Indiana here and it's pop. I have cousins from North Carolina who always called it coke, regardless of the brand.

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    1. Hello Jeff, I'm not surprised at the North Carolina cousins using coke as a generic term, most everyone else is split between soda and pop.

      Good to see you Buddy.

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  12. Since we aren't drinking much of soda/pop/etc., these days we aren't calling out to each other to bring whatever we would call it. We called it specifically by name. Bring be a diet coke or diet Dr. Pepper or Sprite whatever. At the store in that aisle, I would say "we need to get more soda." We broke the habit back in January 2011 and I'm glad we did. Nowadays when I have a diet coke, it is really pretty tasteless.

    betty

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    1. Hi Betty, I remember that you had said you had stopped drinking the colas, but soda sounds like the term you would use when not talking about one in specific.

      I think you are better off not drinking any of it personally.

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  13. I've never liked the name pop and don't really know why, it just sounds odd to me. Soda is soda water which some people drink plain or with ice, while others use it to dilute alcohol.
    Soft drinks is a generic term that covers all fizzy things non-alcoholic and people will sometimes have a soft drink fridge, but things within that fridge get called by the name on the can. Coke, pepsi, fanta, lemonade, sprite and so on. If someone asks for a coke, you'd better not bring them a pepsi or anything else. Some people don't mind either and will ask for a cola, then accept which ever you bring, coke or pepsi.
    I don't understand everything fizzy getting called coke when it clearly isn't and I would have thought Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola would both be known as Cola, rather than Coke. But that's because I'm Australian and we're a weird mob according to some.
    I rarely hear the term fizzy-drink, occasionally on very old movies, unless they're American, then I hear pop. My older sister still says fizzy drink sometimes, it's what she learned as a child and being mentally challenged, she doesn't change easily

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    1. Hello River, Fizzy Drink is evidently a term not really used anymore then, soft drinks is the term I was looking for, It appears I wasn't really clear with my question, but everyone including yourself have been really good with your responses.

      Thank you Mam, I do appreciate you.

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  14. Gosh, stretching the old memory now. As far as I remember Coke was what we always called Pepsi, goodness only knows what people call it now Pop was always fizzy lemonade, and I've got through a few bottles of that in my time...grins. Interesting to read the differences throughout the world.

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    1. Hi Valerie, there have been some really great answers on this one, yours is the first where Coke as a generic term has made an appearance across the pond as they say, I am sure enjoying this.

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  15. In Ohio, I've always said pop. My FIL grew up in northern KY and said Coke. Always confused me when he'd ask if I wanted a Coke. No, I want a ginger ale?

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    1. Hey Bijoux, When you commented "The real question...,,,,pop or soda?" You didn't realize that you would get a whole post as an answer. I was already working on this one and thought the timing good ha ha.

      Sounds like your Father in law and I would be on the same page as far as terminology goes.

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  16. When I first moved south, I was confused by this coke thing. After a bit, I learned to ask for a caffeine free soda and one folks understood what I wanted - we could understand one another. (SunDrop is loaded with caffeine, btw ...)

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    1. Hey Sharon, it's amazing which ones are loaded with caffeine that you wouldn't think was.

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  17. Here its just Coke, Fanta or Pepsi, or any other brand name, you ask for what you want and that's it really. I can understand why there'd be more names over there in the US where it originated from.

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    1. Yes Sir, I think the generic term seems to stick to the the region that it originated here in the US, and the responses here and around the globe have been impressive.

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  18. I grew up in California. I drink Pepsi. Doesn't anyone else refer to them as soft drinks?

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    1. Hey Fran, I think River has been the only other so far to refer them as soft drinks, so look at it this way you and River from California to Australia covers a lot of territory for soft drinks ;)

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  19. Back in my younger days I used to enjoy a 'Rum and Coke' with tons of ice ... Have to say haven't had one in years, although a glass of wine every now and again is good!

    All the best Jan

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    1. Hi Jan, we all may need a glass after going over all of this cola discussion.

      Good to see you Jan.

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  20. Coke is specifically Coke, pop is generically any carbonated beverage.
    "I'm gonna buy a Coke from the pop machine"

    I remember reading that Coke originally had cocaine in it. No wonder it's so popular!

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    1. Hey Abby, Isn't it something that the original formula containing cocaine and alcohol was created as a substitute for the morphine that he was addicted to.

      Strange how some of our common products began.

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  21. A Coke here in the UK would only cover either a Coke or Pepsi, but all drinks that Americans tend to call Sodas we call fizzy drinks. I personally don't drink any of them. I did as a kid and have the teeth to prove it.

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    1. Hi Joey, Coke basically designates a cola drink in the UK, that makes sense to me.

      There is a high amount of sugar in these cola drinks, a lot of cavities can be attributed to them.

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  22. In reference to LL Cool Joe; my third child drinks nothing but coke and has never had a cavity. She's 40 now. My other three children also have only one cavity each, two of them drank a lot of soft drinks, that's the boys who now drink beer instead although the youngest one likes his wines and whiskys. I'm the one who wasn't raised on fizzy drinks and I have the worst teeth in the family.

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    1. We have about the same record in my family, the ones who are careful and avoid the sweets and colas like this are the ones who have the most problems with their teeth, while others drink and eat anything they want and still have a mouthful of teeth.

      our Dentist still gives a thumbs down to the sweet drinks ha ha.

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  23. The old folks here used to call them Dopes...as in, "Hey, if you run by the store, bring me a dope." It probably came from the early pedigree of the Cokes.
    R

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    1. Hey Rick, I remember them being called Dopes by the older folks, I had forgotten about that, but I do remember my Grandma talking about drinking a dope. Thank you for jogging my memory on this one.

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  24. I've spend most of my life in California, and we always referred to it as "soda." The first time I heard soda called pop, soda pop, or coke, was in the military. When we drank cola drinks, it was almost always RC Cola. We referred to it as soda. It's kind of like "accents" from your next post. It's the little differences (sometimes large) that make life more interesting. Two great posts Jimmy!

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  25. Hey Pat, Soda seems to be the common phrase for California, and many other places.

    RC Cola was a very popular brand when I was growing up also, a lot of people drank it but there they said they were going for a coke and came back with an RC.

    It's like going up to the counter "I'd like to buy a coke" "OK, what kind" "I want a RC" "here you go".

    Our differences is what keeps life interesting, whether it be accents, choice of wording, names we use, or food we prefer, we are interesting just like we are. Life is good Pat, Thank you Sir I am glad you enjoyed these posts.

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