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Moxie is a carbonated beverage that was one of the first mass-produced soft drinks in the United States. It continues to be regionally popular today. It is the main ingredient in the New Englander cocktail.

Moxie has a unique flavor that is not as sweet as that of most modern soft drinks and that is described by some as "bitter."



Moxie originated as a patent medicine called "Moxie Nerve Food,"[1] which was created around 1876 by Dr. Augustin Thompson of Union, Maine.[2] Thompson claimed that it contained an extract from a rare, unnamed South American plant, which had supposedly been discovered by a friend of his, Lieutenant Moxie,[1] who had used it as a panacea. Moxie, he claimed, was especially effective against "paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia."[1]

After a few years, Thompson added soda water to the formula and changed the product's name to "Beverage Moxie Nerve Food." By 1884 he was selling Moxie both in bottles and in bulk as a soda fountain syrup. He marketed it as "a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, a drink to satisfy everyone's taste."[3]

A lawsuit was filed in 1907 by the Moxie Nerve Food Company of New England against the Modox Company and others, alleging that they had copied the ingredients of Moxie and were using the name "Modox,"[4] which closely resembled "Moxie," and were infringing upon patents and trademarks.[5] The suit was dismissed by the judge, who said the court could not protect the legitimate part of the plaintiff's business in this case. In a later case in New York, the Moxie Nerve Food Company won a lawsuit against Modox, which subsequently went out of business.[4]

President Calvin Coolidge was known to favor the drink, and Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams endorsed it on radio and in print. The company also marketed a beverage called "Ted's Root Beer" in the early sixties. Author E. B. White once claimed that “Moxie contains gentian root, which is the path to the good life.”[6] Currently, one of the ingredients of Moxie is “Gentian Root Extractives,” which may contribute to the drink's unique flavor.[7]

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