Pop, fizz, gulp, ah… the soft drink is a refreshing thing of beauty. The origins of the flavored, carbonated drinks we know and love today might be said to date back many centuries to the naturally effervescent springs around the world that issued forth not-very-tasty water believed to have curative powers. Scientists in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries attempted to recreate these beneficial waters in various ways, and in the late eighteenth century, Joseph Priestley — a clergyman from Leeds, England, who moved to the United States and befriended Benjamin Franklin — concocted the first glass of artificially carbonated water.
Soda water started developing into the soft drink we know today as chemists like Jöns Jakob Berzelius started adding flavors to the water. Soda fountains became popular in the nineteenth century — in the emblematic drugstores and ice cream parlors of America, among other places — as they were consumed both for medicinal purposes and pleasure.[slideshow:
The rise of popular American brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola inspired entrepreneurs around the world to create their own sodas using local ingredients. Since then, through globalization, the major American beverage companies have dominated the industry, buying out many brands, but still allowing them to be produced locally. Though health consequences due to long-term consumption of modern-day soft drinks have frequently been pointed out, that’s a matter for another day and another article. Today, we are celebrating popular sodas — some locally owned, some belonging to major international companies — from around that you’ve very likely never heard of.
One of the most popular drinks in Scotland, Irn-Bru is a bright orange soda noted for its high sugar content (23.6 grams per 8.5 ounces). The drink is also widely considered an excellent hangover cure.
Originally a medical soda, Ricqlès is a mint-flavored soda noted for its refreshing quality; others (including this writer) think it tastes like liquefied gum.