Suicide, Graveyard and Swamp Water

What did you call the drink you created by mixing all the kinds of pop at the fountain drink station together?

There weren’t many restaurants in my town with a self-service drink station, if I remember right. Subway was about it. But when we mixed them together, we usually the drink “Suicide.” This would have been central Iowa in the 90s. I heard the same in suburban Atlanta a few years later.

I generally hear “suicide” here in Chicago (an informal survey taken at Burger King showed 100% of participants going with “suicide.”)  However, a friend who grew up in southern Illinois said it went by “suicide” occasionally there, but was more commonly known as “swamp water.” I’ve also heard tell of it being called “graveyard” now and then.

My wife called it a “tornado” in Cleveland in the 80s and 90s.
My grandmother told me that when they mixed all the sodas together in Iowa in the 1940s, they called it “hoopee water.” I always imagine the word being spelled as “whoopy” or “whoopee,” but those are pronouncd differently. I’m sure there ought to be a W there, but it’s not pronounced so much as implied. Not silent, implied. Anyway — hoopee water.

Early soda fountain publications referred to a similar thing where soda jerks would mix all the leftover bits of soda into a drink they called a “Don’t Care.” Calling random syrup mixes “don’t care syrup” seems to have been universal among soda jerks in the first decade or so of the 20th century, though by the 1930s, when soda jerk lingo was being studied by linguists, “Suicide” and “Graveyard” were both in use in various parts of the country.

What did YOU call it? Be sure to say where and when.

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  1. Knile

    Suicides, which I used in western upstate New York in the late 80s through the mid 90s. I think my friends in north central PA did, as well.

    These are not to be confused with something that are also known as wind sprints, which I knew from tennis camp. (A topic for another day, perhaps?)

  2. Dan Wall

    My older brothers called a mixture of soft drinks "Swamp Water" in the Mid-1990s in Elmira, Ontario.
    My classmates in the Life Skills program at the Secondary School I went to called a mixture of various kinds of juice and/or punch "Swamp Water" in 2006-2007 at Elmira District Secondary School.

  3. Unknown

    In Oregon in the 1990s-early 2000s, we never called it anything – it didn't have a name, it was just a thing we did.

  4. A NEMEC

    During the 80s in Michigan we called it Mississippi Mud.

  5. Rob

    Mid 90s, at summer camp we called it the "nightmare" but it only really referred to mixing squirts of slush puppie flavor before making your slush puppie.

  6. Jacqui Graham

    In the early '60s, my girlfriends and I used to drive the waitresses crazy at the local teen hangout by demanding the latest fad – a mixture of all three flavours from the soft drink fountain. We called this ungodly mixture a "suicide".

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  8. Gerald

    Southern California, late 70's, early 80's, we called it a suicide, I distinctly remember one variation (I seem to recall it was at a roller rink in Placentia) which included soft-serve ice cream.

  9. The Fifth Dollanganger

    In Birmingham, Alabama in the early/mid-90s, it was a suicide. I heard it rarely applied to other mixtures (multiple kinds of ice cream) but it usually referred to filling your cup with one squirt from every flavor of a self-serve soda fountain.

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  11. Paloma

    Virginia in the 2000s, we called it "drank". We'd dare each other to drink it, but it usually didn't just have all the sodas/juice/iced tea in the self serve machine, but also salt and pepper. It was awful and I remember some friends of mine getting sick after drinking it! We saw it as a badge of honor.

  12. Mad Dog Gatecrasher

    Swamp Water in New Jersey, mid-late 1980's. Also heard it at Scout camp in Rhode Island in the same era.

    We had a Burger King in town (still open) that had a self-service soda tap.

    We also made blends like "Dr. Coke" (with Dr. Pepper) and Orange Pepsi.

  13. Fire Flames94YT

    whenever I was younger in the 1990’s we call it a heart attack,England.

  14. Boo

    We called it Cadence’s everything drink. Or just “everything drink”.

    Sometimes we call it Cadence.

  15. Anon

    Swampwater – Wisconsin – early 80’s

    in reference to other part of the post – the word is “whopatooli” an ad-hoc mixture of whatever booze you have on hand. By the 90’s this was shortened down to just “whop”.

  16. Autumn

    Southwest Washington, circa mid-eighties to mid-nineties. Never heard of “suicide” or “swamp water” for soda pop mixtures, but for my family and friends (and maybe a larger group), a “graveyard” was a mixture of root beer and orange soda, typically around 80-20 (lots of root beer and topped off with orange soda). I don’t recall hearing it used for any other combination of soda pops.

  17. Lazeriraze

    Smizzle in the 215, Northeast Philly in the 90s, we called it garbage.


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