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Eye On Olympia

Real wine v. Cheerwine…

With the Seahawk-Panthers faceoff looming Sunday, Gov. Christine Gregoire on Thursday bet Washington’s bounty against the best, we guess, that North Carolina has to offer.

Gregoire’s offer: Smoked salmon, potatoes, Yakima Valley cherries, Walla Walla wines and Wenatchee apples.
N.C. Gov. Mike Easley’s version, according to a Gregoire press release: “barbecue and sauce, slaw and hushpuppies, a six-pack of Cheerwine and a box of North Carolina peanuts.”

Cholesterol concerns aside, North Carolina’s offering raises a key question: What the hell is Cheerwine?

Cheerwine , it turns out, is the successor to Mintcola, which we’re told was a popular beverage in the South around 1913. One day, a traveling flavor salesman apparently sold the company “a unique cherry flavor to blend with other flavorings.” Thus was born a burgundy-colored soda: Cheerwine. The website includes recipes for Cheerwine pie and Cheerwine barbecue sauce.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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