I just finished a pack of Halls. Ginger Ale Halls to be exact. I bought them last night around eight o’clock. I’m not sick, I don’t eat them as “cough drops”, but rather as the most addictive little candies I’ve ever had (to be fair I did give two away).
I don’t really eat too much candy, but there’s just something about Halls, the pseudo-medicine that gets me hooked. Until just a few years ago I always thought of Halls as cough drops, something to be taken when sick and not thought of much else. A couple years ago I noticed a housemate of mine, from Italy, always had a bag of Halls and was eating them constantly. I asked her how she was feeling and if she was sick. She had no idea why I thought that, and after a few cultural differences we got it figured out that she wasn’t sick and Halls aren’t medicine. “Cough drops? Medicine? In Italy these are candies”, she told me. And when you think about it, the only thing even close to medication in them is menthol.
I don’t remember when I started eating them like candy, I know she gave me some at the time, and I would eat more of them when I had a sore throat or cough, but soon enough I was popping them just like the little mint candies they are.
While I Brazil I realized that they weren’t treated as medicine in that country, they were sold in grocery stores along side candy and by street vendors on nearly every block. If I remember right they were about twenty-five cents US for a pack of them (nine to a pack). They had all sorts of flavors, regular “Mentho-lyptus”, extra strong menthol, strawberries and cream, and my favorite, the Brazilian Acai flavor with guarana. Acai is a berry grown in the Amazon that they make smoothies out of, and it contains guarana which has caffeine in it. These were good, they were the perfect balance of menthol and other flavors. Most of the flavored Halls are far too sweet.
When I moved down to Mexico I got hooked on them again. Same as in Brazil, they’re sold in the grocery stores with candy and by street vendors. A few weeks ago I got “Paloma” flavor, I’m not quite sure what that is, it had a picture of a grapefruit on it, and grapefruit and agave were listed in the ingredients, but it was far too sweet. In Mexico a pack of hall is about fourty-five cents US at the grocery store, probably cheaper from street vendors. They have some with jelly inside the hard candy, but I find that to be a bit much.
There are plenty of interesting flavors stateside also. Cherry seems to be a regular (which I’ve somehow never had. I’m sure it’s too sweet). Watermelon is around a lot too. But since they’re not seen as candy around here they don’t stray too far from those flavors associated with cough drops too often.
I must not be truly addicted, I can go weeks without having any, but once I buy a pack they’re almost always gone within a day or two. And I get excited when I see new flavors, like last nights Ginger Ale.