Nobody beats the US at the soda game. It's their battlefield and they master all its aspects; from size, to variety and from pricing to its service, drinks and sodas in particular have fascinated me since we moved to the US in 2015.
Let’s dig a bit
More is better
One of the first things you will notice in the US is the size of the drinks. Go to a fast food restaurant and you will easily spot costumers holding a classic 30 oz cup full of soda. That is 887 ml to be exact. Yes, almost 1 liter of soda.
But let’s get serious. Real business here is the "Double Big Gulp", also known as "Jumbo Gulp". Jumbo Gulps can hold up to 64 oz of liquid, which is basically 2 liters. Let’s acknowledge that there is some ice in it; well, tons of ice! But this is still a 2 liter cup! According to an unreliable internet source, a Jumbo Gulp holds 200% more than the average human's stomach.
Unfortunately, you will not find Jumbo Gulps everywhere. Most fast food restaurants don’t sell them, and even some cities have issued laws around this topic. It’s the case of the New York City and the Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule, most commonly known as the ‘Soda ban’. In most states, if you want to buy a real Jumbo Gulp, gas stations are the place to go. By the way, if you are planning a road trip, I challenge you to drink one of these without stopping at the next gas station. I'll call it, the Full Bladder Challenge!
Back to the topic, you can also find Jumbo Gulps at the office. Some people find them convenient. One full ‘load’ of water or soda and you are good to go for the morning. I won’t charge you for this productivity drill, you’re welcome ;)
Americans love having (tons of) options
Supermarket soda aisles are loaded with a stunningly large amount of soda options : colors, flavors, logos, shapes, volumes etc. It’s just mind blowing, and I love it! If you want to test your soda-culture, I encourage you to take the ‘Top 40 Soda’ test (www.listchallenges.com/top-40-soda-flavors). How many sodas do you know? How many have you tried?
I did the challenge myself, and my results were not that bad. After almost four years living in the US I guess that my integration efforts are starting to pay off! Some sodas are pretty good by the way. I do not recommend you to start with Dr. Pepper though. I warned you.
The re-filling paranoia
One thing Americans truly hate is running out of soda or water while eating at a restaurant. Be prepared to have your cup continuously filled up by your waiter or waitress. At first it can be annoying but you will soon appreciate it and even miss it when coming back to Europe. In some cases, you can even be re-filled after one single sip. Yes, tips are at stake here, but I keep that another post !
So based on that
Nobody beats the US at the soda game. Be open minded, be curious and take time to discover the diversity of the local flavors.