WASHINGTON — The first time Carolyn Johnson walked into a Rocket Fizz store was four years ago when she and her husband stumbled upon one while vacationing in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Her reaction, just like many others who walk into the retro candy and soda pop shop, was “Wow!”
“I felt like I was stepping back in time when I saw all the older candies and sodas that reminded me of my childhood,” she said.
A few years passed when Johnson had the idea to open up her own Rocket Fizz store in Leesburg, Virginia.
“I thought it would be a really cool thing to have in Loudoun County, so we decided to try it,” she said.
We had to try some of these flavors for ourselves — watch as WTOP’s Jack Pointer, Reada Kessler, Kristi King, Jack Moore, Jason Fraley and Will Vitka conduct a taste test:
Out of 89 locations in the U.S., Johnson’s store is the closest one to D.C. The second closest is in Richmond, Virginia.
It’s been almost a year since the store opened and although most people are excited when they walk in, others get overwhelmed, Johnson said.
“There’s just a lot going on; it’s very stimulating,” she said. “Sometimes it takes two trips to see everything.”
The store offers more than 400 flavors of soda, from root beers and cream sodas to ginger ale and fruit sodas. They also sell a variety of salt water taffy, vintage candy, gag gifts and tin signs.
But what often catches the attention of people who walk into the store are the unique soda flavors they carry like Barf, Bloody Nose and Martian Poop.
“The ones that are a little weird — the Bacon, the Ranch Dressing, the Dirt, even the Buffalo Wing — the kids will come in on a dare and dare each other to try those. Like if they lose a bet, they have to go out and drink the whole bottle of bacon soda,” Johnson said.
“But what’s funny is that some of the ones that sound bad are really not that bad,” she said.
Birthday Cake is the most popular soda, according to Johnson.
“It tastes good and it’s not one of the weird ones like Bacon, Barf or Buffalo Wing. A lot of kids like it just because it’s sweet and it also makes a good birthday gift,” she said.
Some other sweet soda flavors include: Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter and Jelly, S’mores and Cotton Candy.
In addition to the weird and sweet flavors, there are also celebrity and politically inspired sodas, such as Kim Jung Un’s “Nuclear Orange Bomb” or Fidel Castro’s “Havana Banana.”
Rocket Fizz is located at 1604 Village Market Blvd. SE, Suite 122 in Leesburg.