Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Moxie and the rest of the nation...

All about Moxie Soda: The Official Soft Drink of Maine

Moxie soda, the official soft drink of Maine, is the oldest soda continuously produced in the U.S.. It was originally a patent medicine that was created by Dr. Augustin Thompson in 1876. After a "successful" run as an elixir, the doctor modified the recipe a bit and introduced the "Moxie Nerve Food Beverage". It was billed on its' as "the only harmless nerve food that can recover paralysis, softening of the brain and loss of manhood". Exhaustion, imbecility and helplessness were also touted to be cured by drinking Moxie.

Dr. Thompson was born in Union, Maine on November 25, 1835. He belonged the the Union Army, ranking from private to Lieut. Colonel by the end of the Civil War. Afterwards, he enrolled in medical school and graduated from Hahneman Hospital in Philadelphia. he subsequently set up practice in Lowell, MA and was making patent medicines with all being very popular at the time he introduced Moxie.

The taste in its early years was bitter and medicinal, with some of its ingredients being oats, sassafras, wintergreen and (some say) cocaine. Even though the recipe has changed over the years(with sassafras being outlawed in the 60s)the same basic flavor still lingers after over 125 years.
The word Moxie means courage, guts, nerve. Hence all these adjectives(many contend)that are needed to try Moxie, the beverage. Regardless of the general agreeance of the tenacity it takes to drink this soda, it was America's most popular brand until the late 20s.

Maine is proud of their Moxie heritage, having Moxie Falls, Moxie Cave, Moxie Pond, Moxie plums and Moxie berries. Some contend the word moxie is of Indian origination, as Dr. Thompson contended. He marketed this elixir as being a secret Indian recipe.It is known that the Moxie berry was used by the Indians for medicinal purposes, so this wasn't far-fetched.

Advertising the brand Moxie would've been a tough sell for any professional, except Frank Archer.

Frank was a genius and was solely responsible for Moxie's popularity. The famous man pointing at you and telling you to drink Moxie from the can or bottle label of Moxie is said to be Frank and is one of the most successful advertising campaigns for any soft drink. Reminiscent of "Uncle Sam Needs You!". Franks eyes follow you wherever you go(try it--lean you're head to one side of the screen--weird, huh?). The most popular advertising campaigns started around 1886 with a giant replica of one of the bottles being loaded onto a wagon pulled by a team of horses. By 1899, it had evolved into the Moxie Bottle wagon, in which a horse pulled an 8' tall replica of a Moxie bottle. There was a door in the back of the bottle that a salesman could enter and dispense soda to customers. By this time, Moxie had become so popular that competitors had started copying the flavor, bottle shape, advertising campaigns and their name. In Canada, "Noxie" was being produced.

By 1905, Moxie started using automobiles to advertise. Did you know that many towns were thanking the Moxie company because they were the first to set up signs telling people how far to the next town. It wasn't long before Frank started touting Moxie as being the perfect beverage for "Safe Driving" or have "One for the Road". It was also said to be "New Englands Cure for Alcoholism". This idea was also stuck in Franks head because Moxieland, where Moxie was produced,. was once a brewery.

By 1915, the first Moxiemoble was created, also referred to as the Moxie Horsemobile because it consisted of an aut6omobile with a horse mounted to the back. Because it was dangerous to drive, being top heavy.

Frank hired the George Pierce Company to come up with a better, more stable automobile. Pierce took a Dort Speedster chassis and mounted a reinforced papier mache horse to the back, instead of a live horse.

That was the gimmick that worked. These vehicles lead many a towns parade and grabbing the public's attention wherever it went. Many Moxiemobiles were built over the years, using Buicks, LaSalles and even a Grand Silver rolls Royce. Out of all of the Moxiemobiles ever produced only one LaSalle still survives.

An early 20th century tip tray.

Moxie even handed out lollipops made from their recipe. along with posters, thermometers, murals and many other advertising mediums. Songs, popular songs, were written for the teenage crowd. Even though Pepsi got the honors of the first jingle, consider this. In 1904, Moxie hit it big with:

                                                      "Just make it Moxie for Mine"

and in 1921, a best seller-"Moxie One-Step song" and "Moxie Fox Trot Song."

In 1968, Moxie(in order to compete with other soft drink companies) made their famous tonic sweeter, which turned into a huge blunder for the company. It lost over 50% of its customers almost overnight, and seriously enraged the remaining percent. For one reason or another, it wasn't until 1980 that Moxie changed back to their original recipe, but by then many people just were not interested.
So with the history of Moxie in mind, here is a great tasting recipe for a southern dish made the Yankee Chef's way!

Take a Back Seat Coke! There's a new taste for barbecue that was here before you.

                               Real New England Slow Cooker Pulled Pork-Moxie Style

1 3-lb. boneless pork shoulder or sirloin roast
2 T. chili powder
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. brown sugar
1 T. vegetable oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. Moxie soda

Trim most of the fat from the pork if you like.Line 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil and place pork in pan. In small bowl, combine chili powder, salt and brown sugar. Rub mixture over all sides of meat, pressing to adhere (if the meat is tied together with twine or netting, just rub the seasoning right over it). Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm oil. Add pork and brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer meat to slow cooker. Add broth and Moxie to skillet, scraping up any browned bits, then add broth mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook until pork is very tender, 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high. Transfer meat to cutting board and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Use two forks to shred meat into bite-sized pieces. don't even think about throwing away that delicious juice. Moisten and season with cooking juices to taste.

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