The Drink that Makes the Scene


Sorry I didn’t post Sunday; I was back home, attending a friend’s baby shower.

The shower had a barnyard theme which included lemonade and sweet tea in mason jars. Everyone cooed over the cleverness (Pinterest, in case you’re interested) and I, of course, had to try one. However, I think that the real highlight (refreshment-wise) was the Ale-8. It’s a soft drink that you either love or hate, but that you can only find in Kentucky.

Someone complained — why were they including Ale-8 in the barn theme, were they saying it was a farm drink? I didn’t quite follow the logic, but I think they were thinking the farm theme equated the drink to a hillbilly favorite…something akin to my fear of how Kentucky would be portrayed in Justified. I quickly jumped in that I had already made my mandatory Kroger run to stock up. I have had friends and family bring a case when they come for a visit. And I ration it.

When I moved away from Kentucky, I thought of all the things I’d miss and a mild and creamy ginger ale type drink didn’t make my list. And then I couldn’t get it any more. It’s amazing what you start to crave.

When I mentioned this, several of the people at the shower didn’t know that it wasn’t available outside of Kentucky*. It’s actually difficult to find outside of central Kentucky…it’s that exclusive.

And I really want it to show up on Justified (in the Lexington scenes, not the Harlan scenes). I haven’t seen the move Elizabethtown, but remember fellow Kentuckians being excited that the stars were drinking Ale-8 in the movie.

While I guess it would technically be a prop, it seems to me that small details like a regional soft drink really help to add to the setting…almost as much as mountains and the correct El stop.

Do you have a regional favorite of your hometown that would make your day if it showed up in a story?

Green glass bottle with red and white Ale81 logo

Ale-8 One Bottle

*Actually, as of 2002, they do sell it in some counties in Indiana and Ohio, and I recently found out that a bar in Chicago serves it.


6 thoughts on “The Drink that Makes the Scene

  1. Kim

    What! No moonshine at the baby shower??? (Kidding!) Ahh, I used to crave Sun Drop, a Mountain Dew style drink with a stratosphere level of caffeine. It used to only be available in Middle Tennessee. There’s no greater love than that of a sister who risks the wrath of Canadian customs to deliver a case of Sun Drop to her homesick sibling. The next time I’m in Lexington, I’ll try Ale-8.

    • I know, what kind of baby shower doesn’t have moonshine?

      I have heard of Sun Drop. An old co-worker was from Tennessee and would get all dreamy when she talked about Sun Drop and Cherry Wine.

      What a wonderful sister! 🙂

  2. bethfinke

    Which bar in Chicago serves Ale-8? Maybe you’re keeping it a secret for fear they’ll run out the next time yu have a craving…

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