Beyond cola: The strange flavours of soft drinks

İnteresting 09:49 08 Dec, 2022
From drinks that taste like cough medicine to sodas that contain fish roe, there is a vast and varied landscape of flavours beyond the familiar cola and lemonade
Beyond cola: The strange flavours of soft drinks

Once upon a time, there were more sweet sodas than you could shake a stick at. Some were flavoured with cherry syrup, some with lemons, some with the cola nut or bits of sassafras bark. The glass bottles that kept those fizzing elixirs bubbly circulated again and again through a town or community.

They made their way back to the local bottling plant, where the mastermind behind the recipe, or someone who'd bought it from them, filled them back up with fizzy drink. For reasons of pragmatism, these sodas were regional delicacies, generally speaking. They'd spread as far as the bottles could go, and no farther, reports.

The inventions of Johann Jacob Schweppe, the German-Genevan chemist who developed carbonation for drinks in 1783, spread far and wide in the decades after he began to display his wares at World's Fairs. Take this random example: there was a soda water factory by 1918 in most New Zealand towns with more than 500 inhabitants.

But the rise of disposable plastic bottles in the 1970s sounded the death knell of many small-time beverage tycoons. With the geographical limits imposed by those glass bottles removed, it was cheaper for big brands to buy up the small players and consolidate their operations, says John Nese, the owner of Galco's Soda Pop Stop, a revered pilgrimage site among soda fanatics located in Los Angeles.