Massachusetts’ Own Moxie Still Stirs Up the Soda’s Superfans
Moxie is one of those things where the people who like it don’t just like it – they absolutely love it. For superfans of the soda, Moxie isn’t just a drink, it’s a way of life. To the rest of us, though, it’s just gross.
Moxie is flavored with gentian root extract, and the taste isn’t for everyone. Critics of the drink accuse it of tasting like medicine – which isn’t that far off, since that’s how it began.
Originally called “Moxie Nerve Food,” the drink was invented in 1876 in Lowell, Massachusetts by Augustin Thompson. He had it patented as a medicine to help with nerves, insomnia and other afflictions. Of course, there is no proof it helped with any affliction other than perhaps thirst, but supposedly the gentian root did have some medicinal properties.
It began mass production in 1884, making it one of the first American soft drinks, beating out Coca-Cola by about two years.
Moxie was popularized in the mid-20th century by Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, who endorsed the drink and helped “Make Mine Moxie” become part of the American lexicon.
The drink especially caught on in Maine, which is still the place where Moxie is most popular.
No doubt you’ve heard someone use the expression, “That kid’s got moxie,” or some version thereof. The word “moxie,” which came about as a result of the beverage, has become synonymous with being determined and having guts.
My guess is that the connection between that meaning and the drink probably harkens back to the supposed medicinal properties of the soda, because drinking it would supposedly keep you invigorated and driven.
How do you feel about Moxie? Are you a superfan, or do you find it disgusting? It seems as though there is no in-between.