Hidden Gems of Old City – Part I
TREKKING THROUGH THE WILDS of colonial Philadelphia on a sweltering summer morning, one comes to appreciate the offering of a cool Italian soda in a chic café. Americans are inured to pleasures a quality soda-pop over ice in a clean glass may produce, but there was a time when the drinking of sugary carbonated beverages was not taken for granted. Planning and location dictated when one could “grab a Coke”, as a soda bar at the Pharmacy was the de facto sole supplier of these addictive, rejuvenating beverages.
When I tumbled through the doors of Old City Coffee one particularly hot July morning, I thought first of an iced coffee. An ultra-hip hipster, arranging bottles of flavored syrup behind the counter, had another idea. “How about an Italian soda?”, he suggested, nodding to a leaving customer. I’d never tried one, assuming factory-bottled sodas to be superior. But the look of delight on an exiting customer’s face as she tasted her fruity concoction seemed endorsement enough.
“I’ll take one of those”, I asked, pointing to Miss Red Fizzy Drink. The Hip Barristo poured a finger of raspberry syrup into a cup, added a bottle of Pellegrini, ice, and capped it. “Here you go. Two-fifteen, please”. And what did I get for two bucks?
A refreshing fruity soda made with quality seltzer water, pure cane sugar, and natural raspberry flavor. Most stimulating, I assure you! A little syrup research reveal’s a company history dating to 1912 in Bourges, France. Within years, the Monin family is shipping around the world. 1996, Tampa Florida, sees construction of a plant to supply all of the Americas. This French company producing a quality soda syrup in the USA earns an American Toolbox Five Thumbs Up recognition!