Thums Up

one thumb on the camera and one thumb up

Sometimes the invisible cola fairy visits and tells me I crave a soda. Its not common, but I've wanted to crack a can for all of 2010. Day tripping to Jackson Heights in Queens I spotted a bottle of Thums Up Cola in a battered glass bottle. I slid open the cooler door without hesitation or recognizing the optimistic name. Imported sodas often contain cane sugar (e.g. Mexican Coca-Cola) instead of high fructose corn syrup, offering a more neutral sweet flavor, rather than the sharp exaggerated sugar flavor of corn syrup. The battered bottle told the story of reused (rather than recycled) glass, an uncommon practice in America. I sensed there was special reason the soda was in Queens.

Score. Its India's betel nut flavored answer to Coca-Cola. Introduced in 1977 after Coke stopped distributing in India. Later Thums up, with almost a third of the soda market, was bought by Coke to help defeat nemesis Pepsi.

Its flavor is more pronounced and tangier than Coca-Cola with hints of herbs. Perhaps its the glass bottling, but the carbonation was stronger and bubbly too. I like. I read online its a popular rum mixer. A little more complex than the everyday.

Find it: Patel Brothers 37-27 74th Street & 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11372

Thanks to for posting this story.


  1. That is so funny! My bofriend Pat recently bought a case of it. We have some at home and with varying fonts and labels. COme by and we'll crack one open!

  2. Tastey. I will come by sometime, we can talk about color production. Where did he order the case from?

    I think they reuse/refill rather than recycle the bottles, so that explains the labels


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