If you’ve recently moved to Raleigh or any city in North Carolina, you will hear a lot about our “nectar of the south,” Cheerwine.
If you are not aware, Carolinians love their Cheerwine.
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First, it’s not a wine – which many newcomers assume. It’s a uniquely cherry-flavored fizzy soft drink that was created in 1917 in the quaint city of Salsbury NC.- about an hour and a half-hour drive from Raleigh.
Second, it’s more than a soft drink, it’s an iconic brand that has been spreading cheer for more than 102 years now. You can’t help but feel happy when you’re enjoying Cheerwine with family and friends. It’s the must-have celebratory soft drink of choice for North Carolina barbecues, birthdays, graduation parties, and more. If there’s a celebration or gathering, you can assume iced bottles and cans will be there.
The beloved drink continues to be family-owned and operated. It is proudly distributed and served in local restaurants, food trucks, grocery markets, and convenience stores. Cheerwine is available all across the U.S. too! Make sure to use the Cheerwine finder to share Cheerwine with others.
Here are five immediate things you should know about Cheerwine.
- Starting with what does it taste like? It’s a cherry-infused cola, but nothing like Cherry Coke. Cheerwine has a deeper rich cherry essence and coloring. The creator found his distinct cherry flavoring during a sugar shortage in the early 1900s.
- What do you drink it with? Anything and everything. It’s sweet, so it’s a great compliment to grilled savory meats and fried dishes.
- Is it an everyday soft drink? Yes. Available in soda aisles across the state. Cheerwine comes in its classic glass bottles (our favorite), cans, two-litters bottles, and mini cans. If you’re worried about sugar, you can enjoy the same great flavor in their diet version. And, we hear there’s a zero version hitting stores soon!
- What about this festival everyone is talking about? The annual Cheerwine Festival is held in Salisbury, NC. The festival is a must-do on every North Carolinians’ enjoyment list. Loaded with great music acts like The Avett Brothers, food vendors from all over the state, and plenty of fun day-long cheer. Find out more about this festival and its COVID safety plans.
- Lastly, can you cook with it? Yes. Because of its unique sweet cherry flavoring, local chefs and home cooks, have used the drink in both savory and sweet recipes. You can find local restaurants cooking with Cheerwine throughout the state. Favorite dishes include Cheerwine infused barbeque, chicken wings, boiled peanuts, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, and others. Our girl, Megan with NC Eat and Play did some cooking with it last summer. She hosted a virtual soiree featuring creations from local restaurants and even tried some of Cheerwine’s famous recipes with her team.
Here are some favorite highlights from Megan’s virtual event featuring a couple of great local restaurants in Raleigh and nearby Durham.
These special menu items may not be available anymore, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying them out in the kitchen on your own or visiting these places for new specials.
The NC Eat & Play team started with Southern Craft Sandwiches right off of Falls of Neuse Rd. in the beautiful Lafayette Village shopping & dining district.
Doesn’t that make you want to follow and learn more about Southern Craft Sandwiches, because it should?
Next, the NC Eat & Play team headed over to Durham (on a hot day) to meet up with Chef Sydney with Debbie Lou’s and Tru Flavors Diner.