Faygo Rock ‘n’ Rye and Cold Duck: pour Detroit

You meet the most interesting people and hear the most interesting things on the “Faygo Book” trail.

Rock&RyeA woman at the Riverview Library reminisced about mixing Faygo Rock ‘n’ Rye with Cold Duck.

Others seemed surprised to the brink of shock.”What is Cold Duck?” It, like Faygo, is a Detroit drink.

Detroit Free Press reporter Zlati Meyer, who is in “The Faygo Book” for marveling that the company made kosher grape pop, told the Cold Duck story on March 25, 2012.

Meyer wrote that restaurateur Harold Borgman invented Cold Duck at the Pontchartrain Wine Cellars in downtown Detroit. The year was 1937, just two years after Faygo moved into its Gratiot Avenue home. Borgman mixed dry red California burgundy with New York sparkling wine.

He was experimenting with a German custom of adding champagne to the dregs of open wines from a party. Borgman called his concoction Kalte Ende, German for “Cold End,” but someone replaced the “D” with a “T,” giving us Kalte Ente, German for “Cold Duck.”

You can still buy it, unless you’d prefer to mix your own. Mixologists who combine Faygo Rock ‘n’ Rye with Cold Duck will have a pour that is pure Detroit.

The woman in Riverview declined to give her name and could not recall the proportions she used. She said she just kept adding and mixing until she achieved a taste she liked.


Faygo leads you to the most interesting people

Signing books at At the Detroit Institute of Arts museum store on Dec. 27 turned out to be a great way to meet some Faygo people.
Honored to be asked to sign copies of The Faygo Book at the Detroit Institute of Arts’ museum store on Dec. 27. One of the people who stopped by was 99-year-old Dr. Oscar Paskal, who said he had dinner with Faygo President Mort Feigenson every Friday night in his later years.

Another person who stopped by was Patrick, a Faygo kid from way back who now teaches at-risk high school students in Madison, Wisconsin, and a woman who went to Cass Tech High School with a Feigenson and who studied journalism at the same time I did at the University of Michigan. Small, small world.

Keeping good company


Honored to be bookended this way in Wayne State University Press’ Woodward Avenue windows. The innovative “The Lake Michigan Mermaid” by Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen, illustrations by Meridith Ridl, and Michael G. Smith’s “Designing Detroit” are the best kind of company to keep.