Ya-hoo! Remember “Ol’ Hillbilly” Mountain Dew?

Mountain Dew in the 1960s

mt dew ad 1I wasn’t allowed to have many soft drinks or sweets when I was a kid.  So when I had the chance, I would get a Mountain Dew and linger over it’s syrupy bite.

I pointedly ignored my older sisters remarks about Mountain Dew’s color, and what they thought it resembled.  It was the perfect complement a Moon Pie or a Nutty Buddy ice cream cone.

Back then, few parents would have thought that a light colored soft drink would be so loaded with caffeine.  It was training wheels for future Red Bull and Starbucks addicts.

Mountain Dew’s early years

Mountain Dew’s original formula was invented in the 1940s in Marion, Virginia.  It was first marketed in Johnson City and Knoxville, Tennessee in 1948.

The name Mountain Dew was first trademarked by two brothers, Barney and Ally Hartman, who ran a bottling plant in Knoxville.

mt dew patent

Originally used as a mixer with whisky, it was a far cry from what it has become today.

mt dew ad 3

mt dew bottle 2Today’s Mountain Dew taste is credited to Bill Bridgforth, who joined the company in 1958.

The original bottle looked like bootlegged hooch, made in mountain stills.

It was decorated with hillbillies and outhouses, and pseudo-facts like ‘Filled by Ed and Gene’.

We have one of these old bottles in our vintage soda bottle collection at our Mason Dixon Line Restaurant in Rochester.

It wasn’t until after Pepsi bought Mountain Dew in 1964 that its appeal became nationwide.   It has been introduced globally at various stages, but the USA remains its stronghold.

mt dew bottle 1mt dew bottles 6 pack








Check out this early Mountain Dew TV commercial –

The days of outhouses and hillbillies are sadly past, with a younger and hipper target consumer.  Mountain Dew’s packaging and advertising changed to appeal to fun-seeking, wild, outdoorsy teenagers…who could somehow still metabolize all of that sugar and caffeine.

Jackie Chan starred in this latter day Mountain Dew commercial –

Mountain Dew recipes –

There are several cocktail recipes floating around that still use Mountain Dew as a mixer.  Most start with either vodka or Midori, and round out with a splash of 7-up or pineapple juice…maybe to balance out the turbo charged impact of the Mountain Dew.

You can also slow-cook pork chops or pulled pork with Mountain Dew, just like with Coke or Dr. Pepper.

But this cake recipe really caught my eye.

Mountain Dew Cake

It’s a bundt cake recipe, but you can adapt it to a sheet cake or a layer cake.  Just make a larger batch of frosting, and increase the powdered sugar in the recipe to make it thicker. 

mt. dew cake

Cake ingredients:

1 box of lemon cake mix

1 box (3.4 oz) lemon instant pudding mix

1 (12 oz) Mountain Dew

3/4 c. oil

4 eggs


1 Tbsp. butter

1/4 c. Mountain Dew

Powdered sugar

Lightly grease and flour bundt pan.  Preheat oven at 325.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding.  Add Mountain Dew, oil, and eggs.  Beat at medium until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes.  (Sheet and layer cakes bake for less time.) Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and glaze with icing–as follows…

Melt butter, remove from heat and add 1/4 c. Mountain Dew, and enough powdered sugar to make a thin icing.

Looks cool.  The lady who posted it on the internet said it always sells out at her church’s bake sales.

That would have made ol’ hillbilly proud.

–Melissa Genson


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