My Valentine’s Day Gift

This year I’m not overcompensating with a dozen roses or giving a poetic single rose.  My wife is getting a single bottle of Sweet Blossom soda made with rose petals.

Unfortunately, a 12-hour drive to Galco’s Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles isn’t feasible at the present time, so I ordered the bottle from Galco’s website. Bottles are shipped in a custom 12-pack container, so darn it, I felt obligated to buy 11 other varieties of soda. (Did I mention I enjoy soda?)

I learned about Galco’s from the following video clip that capture’s the spirit of the store owner and his love for soda pop. He stocks more than 500 varieties in-store, and a smaller selection on the website.

Video via Buz.

At your local stores you don’t see much more than the sodas made by Coke and Pepsi because those corporations buy shelf space in grocery stores. Indie bottlers don’t have a chance because they’re going up against the buying power of Coke and Pepsi.

Anyhow, UPS delivers to our house during dinner time, so the box with ‘’ plastered on its side was a clear giveaway that I’d gone and bought something weird again.

Last night marked the impromptu start of the Twelve Days of Valentine. We will be sharing one bottle after dinner each night.

Photo of an empty bottle of Mr. Q. Cumber.

We inaugurated the holiday with a bottle of Mr. Q. Cumber. As the name implies, it contains natural cucumber flavor. It’s also made with pure cane sugar, which I choose over the abrasive assault known as “high fructose corn syrup” any day.

Upon opening Mr. Q. Cumber the smell of cucumber is immediately evident. The soda has a light flavor, not too bubbly, with a hint of cucumber. For anyone who likes cucumbers, I heartily recommend it. Myself, I hate cucumbers, but I was curious about the idea, so there we go.

Oh, and the wife likes cucumbers. She can tell the difference between them and zucchini. She felt it important that I mention this fact. What she really means to say is that I consider both green cylinders of caustic pestilence to be a plague upon this Earth. But as I said, so there we go.

We tinked glasses, gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes and sipped deeply.

My wife drank most of the bottle herself. It’s okay. I’ll make up the discrepancy when we get to the sarsaparillas.

Now, as it happens, I ordered the sodas on Thursday, Feb. 4 and the package arrived on Monday, Feb. 8th — three business days — sent via UPS ground. It’s been a decade or more since UPS delivered anything via ground to me in less than 7 business days, so if you order your Sweet Blossom today (Tuesday), there’s half a chance it might arrive in advance of Valentine’s Day on Friday. And if not, pshaw, as if you need an excuse to buy soda pop.

Our line-up:

  1. Mr. Q Cumber
  2. Plantation Style Mint Julep
  3. Sweet Blossom Soda – Rose
  4. Manhattan Special Gassosa (lemon lime)
  5. Double Cola
  6. Hank’s Genuine Premium Philadelphia Recipe Root Beer
  7. Dog n Suds Root Beer
  8. Jeff’s Chocolate Egg Cream Soda
  9. AJ Stephans Old Style Root Beer
  10. Baron’s Boothill Sassparilla
  11. Frucade (German import)
  12. Leninade
Photo close-up of four soda bottles: Sweet Blossom, Leninade, Frucade and Double Cola.

Leninade's bottle is a special treat, littered with faux Soviet jokes in every nook and cranny with such quips as: "A taste worth standing in line for!"

Looking through Youtube’s various trip videos where people document their Galco’s experience, I also found a peculiar music video shot in the store.


6 Responses to “My Valentine’s Day Gift”

  1. anjii says:

    I LOVE kitchy, unique and old-fashioned pop! (I know… my Canadian is showing!). I’m going to have to see how much they charge to ship all the way to me, because some of those are SERIOUSLY tempting :) Otherwise, I may have to have my stepsister bring some down on her next visit from LA!

    Side note: I also hate cucumber, but LOVE zucchini… definitely different animals, despite their outer appearances!

    February 9th, 2010 at 2:49 am

  2. PAUL says:

    AJ, did you notice the very first thing he said was that his inspiration came from a childhood vacation to Happy Camp? Way to shop locally!

    February 9th, 2010 at 11:30 am

  3. AJ says:

    Paul, I was a bit suspicious of his being in LA and dropping the name of a tiny Northern California town without explanation. I’m guessing he’s referring to Happy Camp Canyon Regional Park in SoCal.

    February 9th, 2010 at 3:39 pm

  4. Mathias says:

    I want to order, too. But they dont seem to ship to Germany…

    A few years ago a German beer brewery came up with the idea of creating a soda by a special fermentation (like beer) but without producing alcohol. The result was called “Bionade” and is really popular by now. Several flavours are available. I really like it. Galco should have it from the looks of the shelves, but the online shop search gives no results.

    I never heard of “Frucade”, though. (It looks a little like “Sinalco” which was popular in the 70ies.) How was it?

    February 9th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

  5. AJ says:

    We drank Frucade for night #2. It’s very frothy, tasting like a combination of club soda and orange juice. According to Wikipedia, Frucade was first made in 1953 in Bavaria.

    February 9th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

  6. Mathias says:

    Mr. Q Cumber should go very well with Hendrick’s Gin ( A gin tonic with Hedricks decorated with a slice of fresh cucumber or two is just perfect!

    February 15th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

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