Think of it as liquid sugar.

On ice.

Sugar Rush Soda Shop — a new, independent specialty drink joint in the same vein as Fiiz, Sodalicious and Swig — opened this past December in Marriott-Slaterville. Located at 517 N. 2000 West, Sugar Rush is a little off the beaten path. But loyal customers say it’s worth the trip for drinks like the Tropical Sunset, the Upside Down, the Midnight Moon, or the … straight-up Dr. Pepper?

Eric White, of Farr West, admits that he frequents Sugar Rush “way too often.”

“I usually stop in before work,” he said.

What’s more, White says he gets the exact same thing every day: two of the shop’s homemade sugar cookies, and a regular Dr. Pepper. The sugar cookies, he insists, are “the best ones around.”

And the Dr. Pepper?

“It’s a lot better than the stuff at Maverik or 7-Eleven,” he says.

Maybe so, but with dozens of flavored sodas to choose from, one would think White might opt for something a bit more adventurous, like the Vanellope, Bennington or Pineapple Schweetz. He says that’s what the girls behind the counter have been telling him, but he’ll stick with what works for him, thank you very much.

“They tried to get me to switch to one of those other drinks, but I’m just not going to do it,” he says with a smile.

Bailee Gray is the shop’s 21-year-old owner. She says she used to work at a soda shop — heck, she managed a soda shop for two years while still a teenager. But Gray also says she quickly realized she wanted to be her own boss.

“I’ve always known, since I was younger, that I wanted to own a business,” she said. “I just love being a part of a community, and I’d thought about opening my own soda shop for a long time.”

Gray was a member of the Fremont High School drill team (a current employee is the daughter of Gray’s drill-team coach), first runner-up in the Miss Roy pageant, and Junior Posse rodeo queen for Plain City.

“I’m a spitfire, that’s for sure,” Gray says. “When I want something, I go for it 110 percent.”

And one of the things she really wanted was to have a place to employ the teenagers who aren’t much younger than she is. Gray has 15 part-time employees, most are still in high school.

“I wanted to have a place where kids out here in Farr West, Plain City and all that could have a good first job,” she said. “It’s important to be a part of the community that way, providing a good first job for the kids out here. That’s my favorite part.”

Sugar Rush does a fairly steady business via its drive-thru window, and Gray says the lion’s share of business is repeat customers.

“Most of our employees will have their drinks ready for them, or at least know what they want,” she said.

Sugar Rush Soda Shop offers Coke and Pepsi products, as well as mixed drinks of all stripes. The most popular mixed drink is the Tropical Sunset, featuring pineapple, strawberry and coconut flavoring in Mountain Dew, Sprite or 7-Up. Also popular is The Upside Down, with raspberry, coconut and cream in Dr. Pepper.

Various other drinks include the Super Schrute (raspberry, blackberry and coconut in Coke or Pepsi), the Vader (watermelon and blueberry in Mountain Dew, Sprite or 7-Up), the Peach on the Beach (peach, cream and vanilla in Dr. Pepper), and the Patronus Punch (mango puree and blackberry in lemonade).

If a sugar rush isn’t enough for you, the soda shop also carries energy drinks — Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster — that can be mixed with all sorts of syrups.

“We call that Energy Rush,” Gray said.

Also available is the Italian coffee Lavazza, with espressos, caramel macchiatos and the like.

In the non-liquid department, Sugar Rush offers cookies, cinnamon rolls, pretzels and bagels.

Prices vary, from $1 for a 12-ounce vanilla Coke, to $4.75 for a 20-ounce caramel macchiato.

The menu changes regularly, according to Gray — right now they have a “Marvel Menu” featuring drinks with names taken from Marvel superheroes.

But their absolute favorite drink to make? The kids drinks.

“The kids drinks are Italian sodas,” Gray said. “They have whipped cream, sprinkles and candy on them. They’re fun to make, and we love handing them to the kids — it’s fun to see it make their day.”

Kids drinks include offerings like the Shark Bite (blue raspberry, cream, raspberry sauce and shark gummies), Tickled Pink (bubble gum, cream, whipped cream and cotton candy), Birthday Cake (cupcake, strawberry, sprinkles, cherry and whipped cream), and Groot Beer (chocolate, vanilla, root beer, chocolate sprinkles and whipped cream).

And don’t let the Sugar Rush name fool you. Gray said most drinks have sugar-free and diet options.

“It’s just a fun and happy atmosphere,” Gray said of her soda shop. “When you come to Sugar Rush, you’re family.”

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/MarkSaal.

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