My Coke Addiction

It's no secret that I drink cola.Lots of cola. Specifically of the Diet/Coke/fountain drink variety.

There's just something about a fountain Coke that makes me happy. I'll admit that I'm somewhat addicted, but it doesn't control me. Last week, I had just one can of caffeine the entire day and I didn't get headaches. And, as of late, I'm mixing some caffeine-free in for good measure. Still, whether I'm going to work or preaching or lounging at home, I like to have a drink handy.

Five years ago I wrote a post about my favorite places to pick up a beverage. I figured it was time to revise that ranking as 1) I live in a different part of town and 2) there have been technological advances in the Coca-Cola field. The advent of Coke Zero has changed the game.

Growing up, I loved regular Coke. The problem with the beverage was two-fold: 1) the sugary residue from drinking it and 2) the high calorie levels. Coke Zero gives you the same taste with no calories. While I'm not a huge fan of the non-fountain version (Cherry Coke Zero reigns supreme in two-liter form), the tap version is a golden. Unfortunately, it's still difficult to find in many places, so I find myself going with the old faithful option.

So in no particular order, the best places to get a fountain Coke here in town. Realize there's preference for those places where you can get fountain Cherry Coke; I like to mix it in and that new syrup shot is not a good option. Note that, unlike my previous list, this list does not include restaurants. Only those with get-your-own refills could make this list, and while there are plenty of them that are stellar (Five Guys, McDonalds, Wendys) the increased cost means none are worth frequenting just for the drink.

Thortons. STRENGTHS: Coke Zero and Cherry Coke on tap, nice cups. WEAKENESSES: nowhere near our home, price. COMMENTS: I'm glad there's not a Thortons near our house. I love the mixture you can get there, but they're the highest price convenience store price. It's great to hit up occasionally.

Sams Club. STRENGTHS: Coke Zero and Cherry Coke on tap, price. WEAKENESSES: location, cup size. COMMENTS: The price is the best in town. It's not convenient (you can't make it a daily stop unless you have considerable time to spare) and they only have 32-ounce cups.

UDF Mount Adams. STRENGTHS: price, location, friendly staff. WEAKENESSES: no Coke Zero or Cherry Coke. COMMENTS: I go here everyday. I have tons of UDF cups because they offer cheap 44-ounce refills (under a dollar). The mixture isn't stellar, but it's become like my home brew. I will still hit up other UDFs because of the refill price, but none is as good as our home store.

Speedway. STRENGTHS: Summer pricing, rewards card. WEAKENESSES: Three-season pricing, no Coke Zero or Cherry Coke. COMMENTS: In the summer, you can't beat Speedway. The problem is that they jack up the prices the rest of the year. In a month or s0, I'll hit up Speedway a lot more.

BP, Hyde Park. STRENGTHS: Ice. WEAKENESSES: Price, No Coke Zero or Cherry Coke. COMMENTS: While this place doesn't seem redeemable, they have a pellet ice option that makes any beverage fantastic. So it's not the price, it's the ice.

Currently, there is but one game-changer left: the invention of fountain Cherry Coke Zero. On that day I will rush to the tap, fearing the end of the world.

Feel free to chime in with your own suggestions.