While visiting with family and friends in Philadelphia this summer, I happened upon this bottle of Hank’s Wishniak Black Cherry Soda, produced by The Hank’s Gourmet Beverage Company just outside of Philly. But what is this “Wishniak” thing?
After doing some research, it appears that there is much historical affection for Frank’s Black Cherry Wishniak Soda, a vintage flavor in Philadelphia. Created by Frank’s Beverages, a company founded by Jacob Frank in 1885, apparently it’s legendary. Unfortunately, like most historical brands, it’s also been bought and sold over time, and is now owned by an East Coast Pepsi bottler (Honickman Group), produced in cans with limited availability.
That’s probably why the bottle in my hand made by Hank’s (not Frank’s), references the “Wishniak” phrasing of the original. Wishniak is an alcoholic liqueur from Europe that combines cherries, sugar, and vodka. The soda equivalent is more of a full-bodied flavor, featuring a more subdued cherry experience.
My bottle of Hank’s Wishniak Black Cherry is an attractive brown 12 oz size, with raised panels to display the embossed logos and labeling. The brand markets itself as gourmet, and the classy packaging reflects that very well. Nice job!
The drink itself features a rich, dark purple/cola color, along with a very pleasing cherry scent. Not super sweet, but strong. The flavor is top notch. Sweetened with cane sugar, it starts subtle but really brings on the strong black cherry flavor. The finish is not completely clean, but leaves you with some pleasant cherry remnant to remind you of the great taste you just enjoyed. Full of flavor, bold, and very rewarding, I really enjoyed drinking this bottle of Hank’s. Highly recommended.
Hank’s Wishniak Black Cherry
Filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, natural and artificial flavor, citric acid, sodium benzoate (to protect flavor), caramel color, Red #40, yucca extract, and Blue #1.
A 12 oz bottle contains 180 calories, 40 mg sodium, and 45 g carbs (45 g sugars).