Soda Sabbatical

Here we are again, poised at the end of another year’s Lenten Season.  The end of Lent also signals the end of my annual “Soda Sabbatical”.  Each Lenten season (within the Catholic Tradition) I give up something that would constitute a sacrifice. 

Since soda is one of my biggest vices (and part of the reason I have to shop in the tall and fat departments), I make it a point (for my health if nothing else) to give up soda for the duration of Lent.  Lent (being 40 days) represents 10.9% of a calendar year.  Reducing the soda I drink by almost eleven percent per year has to be a good thing, right??

Each year as Lent draws to an end, the anticipation of that first soda is FIERCE!  I start thinking about it a week ahead of time.  Two years ago it was an R.C. Cola.  Last year it was a Mountain Dew. 

This year it was looking like R.C. Cola again until one fateful moment.

Cue the flashback music…

Two (or maybe three) years ago during duck hunting season up at Best Bud Ed’s cabin, we patronized one of the local grocery stores in town to stock up on needed supplies.  While there I noticed a display of “Frostop" brand sodas.  There was Root Beer, Cream Soda (both which I have had previously) and a third flavor I had had always wanted to try but has never actually tasted. 

The flavor?  Sarsaparilla.

I bought two bottles of it.  I really enjoyed it – I would describe it as root beer with a hint of spiced wintergreen flavor. 

Since that time I have sought out the Frostop Sarsaparilla to no avail.  I wrote Frostop looking for a local distributor, but never got a response back.  Even Frostop’s website no longer lists Sarsaparilla as a product.  I was very disappointed. 

I have located other sources (on line – aka expensive specialty craft sodas with limited or outrageous shipping costs) – but the heavenly smell and taste of sarsaparilla soda has not passed my palate since.

Kansas City SarsaparillaCue the “return to reality” music.

On a multi purpose trip (more on that later) to the northern reaches of Minnesota known as Duluth (aka – the home of “Best Bud Ed”) we made a special trip to a wonderful little place known as Superior Meats.  Superior Meats is a butcher shop and small convenience store in Superior, WI.  Upon entering the store, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye.  I spotted a display of what looked like Frostop Root Beer.  Then as if as if a ray of sunshine from heaven above spotlighted the display!  I saw them.   

I spotted bottles (plural) of SARSPARILLA!! 

After conducting our business with the butcher (more on that later) I went back to the entrance and grabbed a shopping basket.  With the empty shopping basket in hand, I returned to the display and loaded up EVERY SINGLE BOTTLE of “Kansas City Sarsaparilla” they had (eight in total).

It’s an odd combination.  This is branded “Kansas City Sarsaparilla” but pressed into the plastic of the bottle is the Frostop logo…  Since Frostop is no longer making their sarsaparilla, I have to wonder if the distributors of the Kansas City Sarsaparilla bought some bottles from the Frostop company.  The other thing I noticed…  The Kansas City Sarsaparilla is distributed by C B Beverage Corporation, which is based not far from me in Hopkins!

Since we were still in Lent, I have been unable to actually partake in the wondrous pleasures of the sarsaparilla.  We opened one bottle for Best Bud Ed’s kids (I left the rest of that quart there for them) and have fallen asleep each night since, dreaming of that first pull from a cold glass of Kansas City Sarsaparilla!

Kansas City Sarsaparilla


  1. Ah, Sarsaparilla... the name, alone, is compelling. Being a fan of western movies, I can appreciate the charm of a sarsaparilla. I first discovered Sioux City Sarsaparilla ( while on a summer missions assignment in Jackson Hole, WY (1992, 10 weeks, sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, during my involvement with the Baptist Student Union on my campus).

    If you've never been to JH, it is like a [modern] old western town with a square and storefronts, and covered boardwalks instead of sidewalks. My partners (5 other college students from across the US) and I (complete with cowboy boots... I used to wear them often, but have gotten out of the habit) mosied up town one evening for a play at Dirty Jack's Wild West Theater. During intermission, we discovered and enjoyed a sarsaparilla from the theater's "saloon". I didn't know it actually still existed until then. We bought more at the grocery store to enjoy throughout the summer, and I brought an empty home as a souvenier. It is similar to the one pictured on the wiki link above, but mine has no label... rather, it has the logo and cowboy molded into the glass... pretty cool. I have occassionally seen Sioux City products locally, but mostly just creme soda. Now ya make me want to track down a bottle of sarsaparilla!

    A similar enjoyment (and more readily available, at least here) is IBC Root Beer ( Although not lately, I occassionally indulge in a bottle of IBC. Soda (or "pop" as well call it here) seems to taste better out of a cold glass bottle.

    It's unfortunate that your state and my state are so far away. I think we could enjoy a good hike, find a couple caches, and relax with a sarsaparilla and a cheap cigar around a backyard fire.

    Being a Baptist, I have never observed lent, but pondered it. Enjoy your long-awaited sarsaparilla, FoF!

  2. Truth be told... I too call it "pop". But, Soda worked with sabbatical better than pop did!!

    I have seen (on-line) the Sioux City Sarsaparilla before - but the cost (plus shipping) makes it impractical. So I'll have to contact this new distribution company and see if there are local retail options avaialable.

    I'm not a dedicated "one flavor" kind of guy - I like to change up / mix up my pop drinking.

    I would tire of a "sarsaparilla only" existence, but it's a nice change up!

    Who knows what the future will bring... I have family in Northern IL and NY - so a sarsaparilla, cigar, some geocaching and a backyard fire is not completely out of the realm of possibilities!

  3. Hey... definately let me know if you're ever coming through here. Unless you fly to NY or go up through Canada and down (which can be shorter... I know, and I have a humorous trucking story to back it up!), you'd have to go right near here to get there. I know absolutely nobody else in or near your area, so outside of a future vacation destination in that direction, my coming that way is not much of a possibility. I did pass through your state a few times during the brief mightmare career in the big black Peterbilt. I delivered once to a John Deere factory in ND, then ran over to Bemidgi (cool name) to pick up a load of lumber. I remember liking the area and thinking it would be a neat place to explore further... not heavily populated... I like that.


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