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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pennsylvania Punch

During my pilgrimage to Galco's, I overheard the store manager expounding enthusiastically to a group of customers about a certain Weird Soda. I didn't catch the specifics--alas, I arrived too late--but I do know that it involved the original formula for Coke supposedly belonging to a different company. The hint of intrigue in the soda world piqued my curiosity, and I made sure to pick up a sample of the soda which was the subject of his exposition.
It's something called Pennsylvania Punch. Apparently, it's related to another soda called Delaware Punch. According to Galco's web site, this is the original 1924 version of the Delaware Punch formula, re-bottled. Delaware punch is apparently no longer available, at least not made with real sugar. The phrasing on Galco's site implies a sense of deep betrayal at the fact that Delaware punch no longer uses real sugar. There is the further implication that Delaware Punch was purchased by Coke; this, perhaps, led to the Corn Syrup Sullying of 1924, and the subsequent Pennsylvania Rebellion, the fruits of which I am about to quaff.
The label has a picture of grapes, and the soda does have a faint purple tinge to the brown, so I don't know about the Coke connection. Ah well; let's do this thing.

Where and when: purchased in April 2009 at Galco's, Los Angeles
Color: medium clear brown with a hint of purple. Neat label, looks homemade.
Scent: Hey, this is a real bottle cap; I can't twist it off!
The scent is grape, with a hint of iciness, maybe a touch of cream. Intriguing and pleasant. Quite sweet.
Taste: Ooh, that's neat. Grape, but complicated. The grape is pretty much like the grape of a Popsicle (not a bad thing), with a strong sweet fading into tart. There's something else, though--some sort of volatility, something which gives it some headiness. It's almost like a bit of cream soda, but not really. There's complexity in the grape. It's a bit too sweet for my tastes--almost painfully so--but I like the taste aside from that.
Kibbitzer-in-Chief: "Tastes like snow cone. Old snow cone--not like the kind you get from a cart, but like a raspada, a shaved ice. But it tastes defective because it's liquid. This snow cone is defective!"
So a pleasant defective grape sno-cone. There we have it.
Nothing whatsoever like Coke. I don't know what Coke did with this--do they even make a grape soda?--but this is pretty nice. This, for what it's worth, is bottled by the Natrona company.

Quaff rating: 3.5. A bit cloying, but nice.
Cough rating: 0.5. Just the excessive sweetness.


  1. it is as close as i have tasted to delaware punch. that's good business

  2. I have emailed coca cola numerous times asking why they do not re release Delaware Punch onto the market. They could give no answer except that it is available in certain markets.
    I grew up with it. It was my favorite soft drink. I am in California. What good does it do that you can still find it in Louisiana? What good does it do that it's $10-$12 for a 12 pack of cans on amazon but the shipping is $16.99. Coca Cola is STUPID for not putting it back on the market. We baby boomers who grew up with it loved it.
    BOO Coca Cola. Who wants a product you can clean chrome with. Give us Delaware Punch!

    1. California won't allow Delaware Punch imported to or sold in the state due to some Red Dye prohibition. Once again the Nanny State pokes its nose where it's not wanted.

  3. My all-time childhood favorite, it has been a dim memory for decades. I live near Galco's. I had read about the reissuing as Pennsylvania Punch, but never thought to go in and try a bottle. Yesterday, I stopped in and bought a few bottles. It is pretty close to my olfactory memory. I remember the color being more intense, like pomegranate mixed with a little purple and also that there was more body to the liquid (i.e. thicker), but other than that, the flavor is right on. So happy to have rediscovered it.

    1. I get Delaware Punch, by Coca Cola here in Tijuana at a local store near where I live. It's the original you remember I believe. The "Color Rojo 40" amount of dye in this non-carbonated drink is substantial, hence it's kinda deadly to drink. But I'm addicted to it. Discovered it by accident to satisfy my love of grape soda and it was the closest thing I could find. Glad I did. I've got a brain tumor, so no big deal on the colorant. If you want a few bottles, I'll supply them to you on the street somewhere here in Tijuana. I don't know how to do this and not get busted tho in California. I'm basically an expatriot US citizen and work a signshop in El Monte with a friend there. I do come up occasionally to make some money, but don't need that much living in Tijuana. Leave a message and we'll see what happens. I'm sipping a bottle right now, got two more in the fridge. I can get more. I could probably order cases of it from this store. They do.

    2. how much to send 12packs to northern California? I'm a addict (to this soda lol)

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  5. I was in Galco’s buying a case of NuGrape about six months ago and I asked if they had Delaware Punch because I have always wanted to try it. I had no clue what it was suppose to taste like and they said they had Pennsylvania Punch and it was similar to Delaware Punch. I bought a few bottles and put them in my refrigerator and a few days later I gave the drink a try. The taste was very good and the first thing I thought was this tastes like a cold grape snow cone. I have since returned to Galco’s and I always buy a 1/2 case of Pennsylvania Punch with my NuGrape order in glass bottles made from real sugar. I am happy I gave the drink a try. It is a perfect drink right after I spend a few hours gardening around the house and I don’t want a carbonated drink.

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  7. Last time I emailed Galco's they didn't have any of their Pennsylvania Punch available, I signed up to be contacted when it would be available. But no update, is it available now?

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