2108: Carbonated Beverage Language Map

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Carbonated Beverage Language Map
There's one person in Missouri who says "carbo bev" who the entire rest of the country HATES.
Title text: There's one person in Missouri who says "carbo bev" who the entire rest of the country HATES.

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by ONE GUY IN MISSOURI. Transcript could do with proofreading by someone with better knowledge of American geography. Some entries in table could do with more detail. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.


In the US, people in various parts of the country refer to carbonated beverages by different names such as “soda”, “pop”, “coke”, and others. Generally, the West Coast and Northeast say “soda”, the South says “coke” and the rest of the country says “pop”.

There are various maps of where these different names are used, including popvssoda.com and this map on Laughing Squid. Such maps were trending and popular in 2013.

xkcd’s map is a satire of those maps – these regional terms are fake. Not only are there far more terms than are actually used by Americans, many are terms for other beverages (mead), unrelated liquids (quicksilver), or trademarked beverage names less popular than Coke/Coca Cola (Code Red) – and in one case, something that’s not even tangible ("Crypto").

Map terms (from left to right, approximately)
Fanta Name of a carbonated beverage line
Söde Presumably pronounced "soda" but spelled oddly (might be reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail subtitles - "Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yër?"). Or it could be a Heavy Metal Umlaut.
True Water Possibly a reference to Tru Blood, a fictional artificial blood substitute for vampires in The Southern Vampire Mysteries book series by Charlaine Harris, and the television series True Blood. Also could be a reference to "purified" mineral waters such as Smartwater.
Crypto Popularized as a slang term in the late '80s and early '90s to refer to anything involving the act of encryption/decryption through the application of ciphers, a practice which has become practically ubiquitous in the digital age. Given the highlighted region is the Silicon Valley, this is almost certainly a reference to cryptography and/or cryptocurrency. None of these concepts are liquid and therefore not drinkable. Possibly a joke that the residents of Silicon Valley are actually computers that "drink" crypto (i.e. data). Might also reference the fact that it creates bubbles.[citation needed]
Yum Refers to Yum! Brands, parent company of several fast food restaurants, which was spun off from PepsiCo, maker of a carbonated beverage, in 1997, and has a lifetime contract to serve their beverages.
Sparkle Fluid Roughly analogously to how "sparkling wine" and "sparkling cider" are carbonated varieties of wine and cider, "sparkling fluid" or "sparkle fluid" would presumably be any carbonated fluid
King Cola Name of a carbonated beverage
Pepsi Name of a carbonated beverage
Crystal Pepsi Name of a carbonated beverage
Ichor Several definitions (blood of a god (or demon, or, in some dialects, any insect) or watery discharge from a wound). None of them carbonated. None of them recommended as a drinkable beverage. (Well, not by someone with your best interests at heart.[citation needed])
You-Know-What A phrase typically employed when a more specific term is considered unspeakable or taboo. Reference to Harry Potter and You-Know-Who
Tab Name of a carbonated beverage
Spicewater Thought to be a reference to the spice in “Dune.”
Softie Short for soft drink. On the map, it looks like the region for Softie is being punched by the region labeled Punch
Ohio Tea The area in question covers much of Arizona, the namesake of Arizona Iced Tea, itself a non-carbonated beverage. This implies that residents of Arizona view carbonated beverages as something that comes from Ohio, and thus they place Ohio’s name before the word "Tea" to indicate its carbonated state.

Could also refer to "...bubbling crude. Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.

Boat Drink A reference to the song Boat Drinks by Jimmy Buffett.
Melt Usually used to describe a kind of sandwich where cheese is melted in the center, usually on a griddle. Possibly a play on malt drink Or maybe just a way to say "no, the *melted* ice"
Fizz Ooze The shortened name of the book "Fizz, Foam, Splatter & Ooze" about chemical reactions.
Punch A beverage typically found in the juice aisle. Only sometimes carbonated. It's also a pun on the word punch, meaning to hit something, and on the map it looks like the region for Punch is literally punching the region for Softie.
Fun Wine Implies that normal wine is not "fun". Might be an allusion to Cheerwine, a carbonated beverage from the Southeast.
Diet Sometimes refers to a carbonated beverage. A common request in restaurants, as they often only have a single "diet soda" option for customers to pick.
Refill A subsequent glass of whatever you drank previously. Works for any drinkable liquid.
Tickle Juice Name of a Boston-based jazz band.
Bubble Honey Reversed name of the Honey Bubble Tea brand. https://honeybubbletea.com
Sugar Oil Some sodas do contain oils such as palm oil. The areas of Oklahoma and north Texas that are shaded produce a significant amount of crude oil.
The Wet Drink Technically true of all beverages, unless one is attempting to drink sand (or anhydrous fluids - of which the least harmful may be clarified butter). It may also refer to the fact that many advertisements for carbonated beverages attempt to make the product look more appetizing by photographing or filming a beverage container covered with water droplets.
Code Red Name of a carbonated beverage
Mead An alcoholic beverage. Traditionally not carbonated. Often associated with Vikings, and these areas did have many Scandinavian immigrants.
Canadian Ale Probably a reference to the Canada Dry brand of Ginger Ale, a non-alcoholic carbonated beverage.
Aether In antiquity, "Aether" was a hypothetical liquid believed to carry light waves, before electromagnetism was better understood, and also used as a term to refer to the sky or heavens; "Aether" could refer to diethyl ether, a highly flammable industrial solvent, also used as an anesthetic. Neither is carbonated in its liquid form, and neither would be safe to drink as a beverage.
Carbonated Beverage Technically correct, but a bit of an awkward term due to its unnecessary length. Carbonated water with no sweeteners or other additives is labeled as "seltzer".
Mouthwater A play on the term "mouth watering" to describe delicious foods and beverages. Alternatively may refer to spit, water from the mouth, or that it is a liquid one puts in their mouth.
Capri Capri Sun is a brand of beverages flavored with fruit juice, typically sold uncarbonated in pouches.
Skim Shake A shortened name of the beverage "Skim Milkshake"
Kid's Coffee Somewhat accurate. Coffee is typically drunk by adults for its caffeine. Carbonated beverages often have caffeine and are often consumed by children. Possibly a reference to the song "Kids" from the 1960 musical Bye Bye Birdie.
Regular Refers to regular soda containing sugars (as opposed to diet), implying that your only choice of beverages is between regular or diet soda. In the past, "Regular" sometimes referred to gasoline containing lead, as opposed to "Unleaded"gasoline; Was not carbonated, not safe as a beverage, and is now outlawed. Could also refer to regular coffee (as opposed to decaffeinated coffee), which is a beverage that is not carbonated.
Tang An orange flavored beverage containing less than 2% juice extract. Normally sold in powdered form, and not carbonated.
Formula Typically refers to an artificial replacement for mother's milk. Not carbonated.
Medicine Probably a reference to the use of the word tonic in the Boston dialect. May also be a reference to Ginger Ale, which is sometimes used as a folk remedy for an upset stomach.
Broth Liquid in which bones, meat, fish, or vegetables have simmered. Often used as a soup base. Not carbonated.
Fool's Champagne Carbonated beverage is to champagne what fool's gold (pyrite) is to gold.
Sugar Milk Possibly a reference to sap extracted from the stems & trunks of plants, which is sometimes called "milk", such as "dandelion milk"; Under this convention, a beverage made from the extract of sugar cane stems could be termed "sugar milk". Also, food-grade liquids that superficially resemble mammalian milk are often labeled as "[X] milk" after their source, such as "soy milk" and "almond milk"; Sugar being a major component of milk & milk substitutes, it may make sense to call soda "sugar milk." Possibly relatedTemplate:how?: In this region of the US, people drink a popular carbonated beverage called Moxie that may be less familiar to people elsewhere.
No word for them This region of the US does not have a word for carbonated beverages (according to Randall). Probably a play on "In [language] there is no word for [concept]." Possibly they do not drink them at all.
Hydro A word for water. Carbonated water does exist, but this word means all forms of water. Possibly a reference to the film Waterworld, in which "hydro" is the common term for (scarce and valuable) drinkable water.
Harvard Tea The region shaded this way includes Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is home to Harvard University.
Bubbler A nod to another popular map of the same type, exploring the regional dialects used to describe drinking fountains. Rhode Island and the eastern portion of Wisconsin are the only two locations where 'Bubbler' is commonly used to refer to drinking fountains, but the word is commonly used in surrounding areas to depict the strong variety of rhoticity present, some saying 'bubblah' in for example Boston, and others saying 'water fountain'.
Mouthbuzz Perhaps referring to the feeling of drinking a carbonated beverage, where the releasing carbonation almost 'buzzes' in the mouth.
Brad's Elixir Possibly a reference to "Brad's Drink", the original name for Pepsi when it was invented by Caleb Bradham in 1893. The word "elixir" is defined as "a sweetened liquid usually containing alcohol that is used in medication either for its medicinal ingredients or as a flavoring". "Elixir" was misspelled in the original version of this comic as "elixer".
Hot Water Not carbonated. Not even in Jacuzzi and hot tubs. May reference how boiled water forms bubbles before it actually comes to a boil.
Fluid A word that means nearly any liquid or gas in existence. Not specific to carbonated beverages.
Coke Zero Name of a carbonated beverage.
Carbo Sodas sweetened with corn syrup or cane sugar are high in carbohydrates. Could also refer to carbonation.
Quicksilver An old term for the element mercury, a metallic liquid in its pure form at room temperature. It should also be noted that mercury is a toxin and in most cases it is medically contraindicated against drinking mercury as a beverage.
Glug Onomatopoeia, referring to the sound of swallowing a large amount of liquid. Or possibly referring to glögg (pronounced "glug"), a Swedish beverage similar to mulled wine.
Water Plus Technically the name of a British water retail services provider, this likely refers to the prevalence of "plus" as a preposition in branding nomenclature (e.g.: Google+, iPhone 8 Plus, 7 Up Plus, etc.). Also reminiscent of "Milk Plus," the drugged milk from the movie A Clockwork Orange.

The title text may be a wry comment in light of the pocket of "soda" in the St. Louis, MO area.


In the original version of this comic "elixir" was misspelled as "elixer", however this was later corrected.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[A map of the United States divided into purple, red, green, blue, and yellow colored regions.]

[A purple area in North West Washington.]
[A blue area spanning the Western border of Washington and Oregon.]
[A yellow area spanning the remainder of Washington, North Western Oregon, Northern Idaho and the North Western corner of Montana.]
[A green area spanning the North Eastern corner of Oregon, central Idaho and the majority of Montana.]
[A blue area spanning Eastern Montana, the North Eastern corner of Wyoming and the majority of North and South Dakota.]
[A red area spanning Eastern North and South Dakota, the majority of Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin and Michigan North of the lakes.]
[A green area spanning the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.]
Canadian Ale
[A yellow area spanning the South Eastern corner of Minnesota, the North Eastern corner of Iowa and the majority of Wisconsin.]
[A green area in North East Wisconsin.]
[A purple area covering most of Michigan south of the lakes.]
Kid's coffee
[A red area covering Northeast & central New York.]
[A green area covering Vermont and spanning the border with New York.]
[No word for them]
[A yellow area covering Maine and the majority of New Hampshire.]
Sugar milk
[A red area spanning Eastern Massachusetts and the border with New Hampshire.]
Harvard tea
[A blue area covering Rhode Island and spanning Eastern Connecticut, central Massachusetts and the South West corner of New Hampshire.]
[A yellow area spanning the South Eastern corner of New York, the South Western corner of Massachusetts, Western Connecticut and Northern New Jersey.]
Mouth Buzz
[A red area spanning North Eastern California, Southern Oregon, the South Western corner of Idaho and the majority of Nevada.]
[A blue area spanning South Western Idaho, Eastern Nevada, the majority of Utah and the border of Utah and Arizona.]
[A green area spanning Northern Utah and the majority of Colorado.]
[A yellow area covering the majority of Wyoming.]
Fizz ooze
[A purple area spanning the South Eastern corner of Wyoming, the North Eastern corner of Colorado, the North Western corner of Kansas, Southern South Dakota, the majority of Nebraska and Iowa, and Northern Missouri.]
Tickle juice
[A blue area spanning Eastern Iowa, Southern Wisconsin, the majority of Illinois and Indiana, the Southern border of Michigan, the Western border of Ohio and North Western Kentucky.]
[A green area spanning South Eastern Michigan, the majority of Ohio and Pennsylvania, South Western New York, Northern West Virginia and Western Maryland.]
[A purple area spanning Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.]
Brad's Elixir
[A red area spanning the South Eastern corner of Pennsylvania, Eastern Maryland, Delaware and Northern Virginia.]
Hot Water
[A yellow area spanning Eastern Kentucky, the Southern border of Ohio, Southern West Virginia, the majority of Virginia and Northern North Carolina.]
[A blue area in Western California, North of San Francisco.]
True water
[A yellow area in Western California, South of San Francisco.]
[A green area in South Western California, North of Los Angeles.]
[A blue area in South Western California, close to Los Angeles.]
Sparkle fluid
[A purple area in South Western California, close to San Diego.]
King cola
[A yellow area spanning South Eastern California, Southern Nevada and the North Western corner of Arizona.]
[A green area spanning the South Eastern corner of California and the majority of Arizona.]
Ohio tea
[A red area spanning Eastern Arizona, the majority of New Mexico, Southern Colorado and the border between New Mexico and Texas.]
Fun wine
[A blue area spanning Northern Texas, South Western Kansas and the majority of Oklahoma.]
Sugar oil
[A red area spanning Central and Eastern Kansas, Southern Nebraska, Central Missouri and South Western Illinois.]
Bubble Honey
[A yellow area spanning Southern New Mexico and Western Texas.]
[A blue area in Southern Texas.]
Code red
[A green area spanning the majority of Texas and the Southern border of Oklahoma.]
The wet drink
[A purple area spanning Eastern Texas, the South Eastern corner of Oklahoma, the majority of Arkansas, Southern Missouri and Western Louisiana.]
Carbonated beverage
[A yellow area spanning Eastern Louisiana, Eastern Arkansas, Southern Missouri, the South Western corner of Tennessee, the majority of Mississippi and the South Western corner of Alabama.]
Skim shake
[A green area spanning the majority of Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, Northern Alabama, Northern Georgia and Western North Carolina.]
[A purple area covering the majority of North Carolina.]
[A red area spanning Eastern Mississippi, Central Alabama, Northern Georgia and the South Western border of South Carolina.]
[A yellow area covering the majority of South Carolina.]
Coke zero
[A blue area in Central Georgia.]
Fool's Champagne
[A purple ares spanning Southern Alabama, Southern Georgia and Northern Florida.]
[A yellow area in Eastern Florida, near Orlando.]
[A blue area in Western Florida, near Tampa.]
[A red area in Southern Florida, South of Tampa and Orlando.]
[A green area in Southern Florida, near Miami.]
Water plus
[A yellow area corresponding to Hawaii except for the island of O'ahu.]
[A red area corresponding to the Hawaiian island of O'ahu.]
Crystal Pepsi
[A blue area covering the majority of Alaska.]
Boat drink
[A red area in Southern Alaska, near Anchorage.]

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I'm wondering what the joke behind the weird shapes of "softie" and "punch" are about. Cgrimes85 (talk) 17:22, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

The shapes could easily be random. But at first glance the "softie" shape vaguely represents areas where Mormons represent more than 50% of the population. Syberiyxx (talk) 19:07, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
I fixed the explanation with the correct interpretation of the two shapes. -boB (talk) 21:27, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
My additions had disappeared, but it looks to have been by accident, and Shamino put them back. Thanks! In case it disappears again for whatever reason, on the map Punch is literally punching Softie. -boB (talk) 22:10, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

"Bubbler" is definitely a reference to people in Rhode Island calling drinking fountains "bubblers".Cgrimes85 (talk) 17:23, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

Bubbler reference, Joshua Katz, and its data
The “bubbler” term is used in some areas of Wisconsin, too; I wonder how that happened. 17:31, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
Interesting. I didn't know that. In this case though, the map is pointing directly at RI. Cgrimes85 (talk) 17:40, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
I was devastated to see that 'bubbler' had not been given to eastern WI. I demand a recount!-- 18:47, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
I was surprised to see 'bubbler' avoided Boston. Living in the suburbs of Boston, which are in the 'bubbler' area, we always called them 'water fountains', but we talked about how people in downtown Boston would say 'bubblah' instead, which somebody from the city verified once. Later I moved to the Harvard/Cambridge area (is that Randall's area?) and people seemed to say 'water fountain' to me, although I might not have noticed, or maybe they were all college kid types, dunno. Maybe the point is that in the highlighted area, people weirdly _don't_ refer to water fountains as bubblers, and the reason for this is that it is how soda/pop is referred to. 23:50, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
Growing up in the New York metropolitan area in the 70's, my family sometimes used the term "bubbler", but only to refer to those drinking fountains where the water is projected straight up. We never used it for the more common kind where the water is projected at an angle. Shamino (talk) 21:37, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

Clearly a parody of this map: http://www.popvssoda.com/countystats/total-county.html The isolated regions surrounding Atlanta and the Twin Cities are probably a reference to the similar pattern around St. Louis in the real map. 17:17, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

Oh man, this one is gonna have to be a table. Bring in the guy who knows how to make tables. I think it was the user Dgbrt. 18:28, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

I've heard Americans have 50 different words for "soda" 20:26, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

Re: Medicine - People in Detroit and Buffalo often use Ginger Ale, especially Vernor's, medicinally. Whenever I had an upset stomach growing up, it was the preferred beverage. 20:54, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure "crypto" is a joke on cryptocurrency craze, not cryptography or any other crypto-thing. 21:21, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

It could be, but I see no evidence of that in this comic; there's no other reference to currencies or cryptography here, so there's not much to go on. However, looking through past comics, I see many instances where Randall used "crypto" to mean "cryptography" but no instances where he used just the term "crypto" alone to mean "cryptocurrency". Randall Munroe seems pretty well versed on both topics & I don't think he thinks that word means what you think he thinks that word means. Crypto = cryptography. Crypto ≠ crypto-currency; hence the existence of the compound term crypto+currency in the first place.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 19:04, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

"True water" could be a reference to the "raw water" (aka untreated water) thing that went through the SF Bay Area in 2018. 21:51, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

Re: Medicine - Sodas started out as medicines made by pharmacists. (first reference I found) 22:41, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

On "fluid": the term "fluid" can refer to liquids and gasses both, so perhaps it's a deliberate reference to the fact that carbonated beverages contain both liquid and (rapidly decompressing) gas?

I doubt that "True Water" is a reference to True Blood. Randall doesn't exactly seem like a vampire guy to me. 00:50, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

When I saw "Glug" I immediately thought it could be a reference to the Squidbillies although it is an alcoholic drink and that section is in Florida instead of Georgia. Ansarya (talk) 01:08, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

The Söde section is just south of Seattle and so is probably a reference to the SoDo section of Seattle (which was also parodied on South Park's 19th season as SodoSopa) Should I add these to the explanation? Ansarya (talk) 02:13, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

I'm wondering if the term "Hydro" in Upstate NY bordering Canada is a play on the common Canadian use of "Hydro" to mean electricity B0xertw1n (talk) 03:15, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

I know meltwater is used as a term for water from melted glaciers, icebergs or just ice and snow in general. I have heard Melt used to refer to glacier water in specific twice in Canada. I also know people ride boats up to icebergs just to grab some ice for a drink. Considering the region, I wouldn't be surprised if both Melt and Boat Drink refer to that. D (talk) 05:22, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

I wonder why he used five colors for the map, given the four color theorem I would never be able to resist using four only for maps like this.

There were five ingredients in punch but that is tenuous.

Is this a Republican gerrymander?

  • Ichor goes red.
  • You-Know-What goes red.
  • I can't tell which way Ohio Tea would go, given that Arizona is a swing state, and very little of the populated areas have changed.
  • The Wet Drink is clearly more Republican, as the section bordering Mexico is gone.
  • Punch is red, even though Colorado is typically blue.
  • Atlanta is in the "Tang" region, not the "Fool's Champagne" region. Atlanta is not enough to make Tang blue.
  • Skim Shake contains a lot of African-Americans, but it still seems to be red.
  • Glug is red. I can't tell about Skim Shake or Quicksilver.
  • Fluid excludes Raleigh, which is enough to make it likely/solid Republican, despite North Carolina only leaning Republican.
  • Mead is red, even though Minnesota leans Democratic.
  • Kid's Coffee excludes Detroit, making it dark red.
  • I honestly can't tell which way Medicine goes. It contains Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburg, and Buffalo, but also a lot of rural areas. Cincinnati and eastern Pennsylvania are excluded.
  • Hydro goes red.
  • Broth goes red, even though Virginia is blue. Look at how Hot Water is "packed" with Democrats.

The only thing I have against this idea is that Capri goes blue, and a Republican gerrymander would probably not include the entirety of Indiana. 14:01, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

To be fair, mercury is hardly harmful at all if swallowed 15:05, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

That’s correct, so I removed the remark from the table. --DaB. (talk) 16:42, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
What? Where are you two getting your information on this subject? Both the AMA & WHO have published warnings about the dangers of mercury ingestion. It is medically classified as a toxin & regulated as an industrial pollutant. Due to the very small quantities required for a spill to elevate mercury levels beyond accepted risk limits in a water table, & the high rate of vaporization & accordant inhalation risk, many municipalities & medical organizations have banned the sale of mercury containing thermometers, altogether. Ingesting a single gram of mercury is sufficient to risk permanent damage, & it's worse if inhaled, which is easy to do because it vaporizes at a relatively low temperature. Mercury inhibits selenium uptake. Even the relatively low absorption rate of elemental mercury within the gastrointestinal tract is still sufficient to warrant serious medical warnings & safety regulations. Unless you can present some peer-reviewed studies indicating that drinking mercury is safe, I don't understand how you can claim it's "hardly harmful at all if swallowed". Bottom line: Mercury is a toxin. I'm putting it back in.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 20:05, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

Heh. Lots of these funny names might remind specific users of specific things, but it's foolish of us to say that those names are surely references to those things. "You-know-what" is a Harry Potter reference? Really? Alanbbent (talk) 16:28, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

Ichor area appears to be the Cascade Mountains, the igneous range formed by the molten "blood" released from impact with the tectonic plate with sedimentary Olympic peninsula - since ichor is the blood of the gods of OlympusRarebitfiend (talk) 16:53, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

You-know-what also echoes the Schweppes tag line "Schhhh - you know who" 18:11, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

I don't understand, I've never heard anyone refer to sodas in general as "Coke" unless it was a Coke-like drink (aka cola). On the other hand, I have heard many people refer to sodas as "cola" even if it was clear/yellow/non-brown. SDSpivey (talk) 05:47, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

I think "hydro" is a reference to the fact that in that region (and Canada) they refer to electric power as "hydro" because it comes from hydroelectric plants, so it IS a regional dialect change, but for utility power not soft drinks. 23:20, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

I also though "hydro" was a reference to the Canadian oddity of calling electricity "hydro". I added that to the Terms Explanation but someone deleted it. 14:48, 14 February 2019 (UTC)