To me seltzer is a Jewish drink, so Jewish in fact that some people have even taken Seltzer as a last name in many different forms, I know several folks with the last name of Zelcer which is pronounced Zeltzer which must have come from some deriviative of seltzer, maybe when the family was being screened on Elis Island and they were asked to Americanize their names- and they thought Seltzer was neutral and all the sudden they had taken on the last name of the quintessential Jewish drink.
In fact unlike other supposed Jewish drinks seltzer is drank by all sects of Jews. Manishevitz blackberry wine is commonly used as a prop in modern day movies and videos about Jews, but unlike seltzer, the Jews drinking Manishevitz are all havah negilah, lets go to temple and eat bagels type Jews, rather then the herring and kichel type. Seltzer however, has the ability similar to the one dayanu tune- to bridge the gaps between Jews. What real Jew doesn’t have an affinity for a bottle of high pressured blue label Vintage Seltzer?
Even Doctor Brown soda, which I always thought was a Jewish soda, does not seem to span the sects of Jews. Dr. Browns is much more prevalent in the old time Jackie Mason, second avenue deli type of Jew then the heimishe hoagie crowd. My father would order a Dr. Browns celery soda- which I always thought was gross- whenever we went to eat at classic Jewish places like Ratners, Famous, Ednas and Second avenue Deli. It was just non existent outside of the classic kosher restaurant realm.
I myself grew up on the seltzer delivery man, now I know I am aging myself here- but I remember getting crates of seltzer delivered every week to our door. These huge blue and green bottles with spray thingies on the top were way fun. Until one day I came home to find plastic bottles of vintage lemon and lime sitting in a cardboard box next to the old Hoover. I would hear my father relate his anger every time seltzer became the topic of conversation- he would go on and on about them starting to charge exorbitant prices- probably because of the Liberals- because for some reason my old man can tie in any problem with the “Farstunkenah Liberals” as he likes to say.
I have even developed some random Seltzer theories over the years. One of them was that no matter where you went seltzer was much more then a drink, it was a form of entertainment. Take pesach for example, have you ever seen something more entertaining then watching the requisite bottle explode onto a non-gebrokts table. Well you will never see lame old Magid go from Maxwell house boredom to a frenzy of shouting and screaming to get the matzo crumbs off the table before they turn into bread from the seltzer accident- which has to happen at every meal regardless.
Part of Jewish life is the seltzer explosion at shabbos and holiday meals. Pesach as seen above can be great. But just as good is the arrogant shmuck who also gets it. Nothing like seeing the chief hocker get drench with fizzing seltzer as he brags about his latest siren addition to his Suburban.
I find that as I get older, that the younger generations do not share the same affinity for seltzer, Juices that claim to be water and energy drinks have taken over. Or those sugar filled “nectar” juices from Israel- I do like the spring strawberry- but nothing does it like some lemon lime seltzer. First of all seltzer has no calories or sugar or fake sugar or nothing. Second of all, it sounds Jewish, third of all- you can be cool with the little old guys in back of the shul that only speak Yiddish and talk about “lookers” and “Broads” all day. Seltzer works best with matchas herring and garlic tam-tams.
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