If you clicked on this article, you are probably: A. From Mobile, Alabama, (and surrounding areas) and want to be sure the writer is too, or B. From another geographic location and extremely confused as to what a hug is. Welcome! For starters, I was born and raised in Mobile, Scout’s honor. Second, a hug is not that aunt holding you too long during a hug.
If you’ve ever attended a wedding down South, or any other event for that matter, it’s safe to assume there were custom hugs made for the occasion. Additionally, almost every household in the South has some sort of designated container for hugs that accumulate over the years.
What we Mobilians call a hug, you will recognize it as a koozie, Koozie or KOOZIE. I won’t go into detail, but there have been trademark disputes around these terms, so we might be better off calling it a hug anyway! It’s assumed that koozie is an offshoot of cozy, which refers to the original tea, an adorable knitted invention meant to keep your kettle warm. Thus, a cozy keeps warm, a koozie keeps cool, which makes perfect phonetic sense.
Some people even call them drinking cuddles, which is closer to our beloved cuddle terminology, but it’s also a brand of diapers. Not the ideal image you want while sipping a cold drink. No offense to people arguing over the legal rights to the various forms of the word koozie, but hugger makes sense. The fabric literally hugs your drink!
I searched the internet and contacted my friends at Mobile bay magazine to see if they knew why this particular wording is only used in my hometown to no avail. Just as we prefer the word wharf to pier or dock, we simply (and inexplicably) have a vocabulary of our own. If you’re from Mobile or know a Mobilian, a collection of words unique to the city probably won’t surprise you. Whatever you call it, I offer a toast to this invention that has accompanied southerners on countless beach outings, dance floors and porch parties. Cheers!