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Key Ingredient: Cheerwine

Key Ingredient: Cheerwine
Photography by Bryan Regan

Add Pop with NC’s Favorite Drink


Kevin Callaghan, chef and owner of Acme Food & Beverage in Carrboro, North Carolina, grew up in the suburbs of Charlotte. He remembers visiting his uncle’s modest shack in Lake Norman, twenty miles north, to go fishing. During those days, dirt roads and gas stations that doubled as bait shops were more common than the McMansions and glittering boats there today. Before each trip, Callaghan’s uncle would stop at a gas station to gather the day’s necessities, which always included Cheerwine. It was a special occasion drink for Callaghan, a treat marked with memories he’ll carry forever. “This is the North Carolina drink,” he says.

Cheerwine was born in Salisbury, North Carolina in 1917 when founder L.D. Peeler bought a syrup formula from a St. Louis salesman for a “unique cherry flavoring.” Today, the soda quenches the thirst of many a Tar Heel and is rapidly expanding, with plans to include all fifty states in its distribution network by 2017. On the cusp of its centennial celebration, Callaghan taps into his Carolina roots for a menu sweetened with the flavor of his home state.


Duck Breasts with Cheerwine and Cherry Gastrique

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Cheerwine and Ginger

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