Have Moxie, Will Travel
As I travel across the country this summer, one of the things I will be doing is bringing the joy of Moxie to the nation. If you aren’t from New England, you may wonder what in the world Moxie is. Moxie is now a regional drink, but once had a strong national following.
Moxie started as a patent medicine, in the City of Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1876. In addition to being a center of textile manufacturing, Lowell was a leader in patent medicine production. Dr. Augustin Thompson, originally of Union Maine formulated the medicine which contained gentian root extract to help cure among other things paralysis and insominia. When laws regarding the advertising of health benefits of patent medicines came into effect, Augustin turned the medicine into a fountain beverage.
The drink became wildly popular throughout the United States, despite it’s slightly medicinal taste. It was also the root of the word Moxie which became part of the American Vernacular. President Calvin Coolidge is said to have been a fan, and celebrities such as Ted Williams were featured in advertising with the slogan “Make Mine a Moxie.”
The drink fell out of favor nationwide but maintained a loyal following in the Northeast. It now carries the tag line distinctively different.
My father tells the story that he became a fan of Moxie when he and his friends drank some of his friends’ father’s Moxie. The father was shocked, having only bought the drink because he thought they wouldn’t like it’s heavy medicinal flavor. Dad tried the same thing with me, but I fell in love with it.
The drink has a very distinctive flavor, heavily medicinal but distinct and, to me, heavenly. Others have decidedly different reactions. The majority of people who try it, cannot stand the beverage. This is where my idea for a project was born.
As I travel across the country, I will be filming people trying Moxie. To that end I’ve stocked up on two cases of the beverage at the local Market Basket. Like Johnny Appleseed, I will be bringing Moxie across the country and will try and spread love of the beverage.
Some may not like the beverage, in fact I’m banking on it. I will be sharing the videos of the taste tests as they happen, here and on YouTube.
What is your opinion of Moxie, is it as I think, “The Nectar of the gods?” or something different? Let me know in the comments.