Don’t drink, don’t smoke — what can you do?
In Utah, you can get a dirty soda. With a large Mormon population that abstains from alcohol and coffee, Utah has become a hotbed of creativity when it comes to virgin drinks, and so-called “dirty soda” is the most popular (and definitely sweetest) of those creations.
Customers can enjoy concoctions like the Your Mom (Dr Pepper, coconut, blackberry), Eagle Scout (root beer, toasted marshmallow, chocolate) or the Extra Dirty Second Wife (Mountain Dew, fruit syrup and half-and-half) — all in enormous, health-defying quantities. Honestly, most of them look pretty good — the Eagle Scout is like a drinkable s’more, and who wouldn’t want that? Dirty soda is basically a sweet tooth’s dream come true (and every dentist’s nightmare!). But where Utahans get their favorite dirty soda is becoming a big point of contention, as is using the word “dirty” to describe the beverages at all.
Two of the largest dirty soda shops are currently entangled in a legal battle over whether the term “dirty soda” is protected under trademark.
Swig, founded in 2010, claims it trademarked the “dirty” in dirty soda back in 2013. But another chain, called Sodalicious, argues that “dirty” has been used to describe beverages with flavor added for years (dirty martini or dirty chai, anyone?). Dirty soda is also a name for soda mixed with codeine cough syrup, often referenced in hip-hop music. Both chains seem to be blissfully unaware of that connotation.
In spite of the legal uncertainty, numerous other dirty soda chains have opened up, and the trend seems here to stay. They’re not yet nationally available, but if you don’t live in Utah, you can always try making your own — starting with homemade soda and adding flavor syrups and half-and-half until you’ve come up with the ultimate sweet and fizzy creation.
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