Are you searching for information about Ramune soda or where it comes from? Learn all there is to know about this infamous Japanese soft drink.
Whether you’re from Japan, you’ve been to Japan, or you’ve only heard about Japan, you probably already know it is a country with both a rich and ancient history.
That rich history reaches back as far as the Paleolithic period, spanning approximately 2.5 million years ago to about 10,000 B.C. According to research, near the end of the last Ice Age, the region known today as a group of hunter-gatherers first settled in Japan called the Jomon.
Today, the ancient Jomon people are no longer around.
However, their modern ancestors have created a vibrant and diverse Japanese culture filled with many products unique to the country.
One such unique Japanese product is Ramune, a bubbly, tasty concoction you can find almost anywhere!
Below, we’re exploring everything there is to know about Ramune soda, a Japanese soft drink that continues to quench the thirst of millions of Japanese and other folks worldwide.
What Is Ramune Soda?
Like American Coca-Cola or Pepsi, Ramune is simply a carbonated soft drink that you can find for sale in your local grocery stores.
The name Ramune is a variation of the English word for lemonade. However, as you’ll soon see, Japanese Ramune is available in a wide range of tasty flavors, including lemon-lime, melon, orange, and more!
Japanese Ramune drinks were initially developed by a Scottish pharmacist named Alexander Cameron Sim and first hit the scene in 1884 in what’s known today as the city of Kobe.
So far, there’s nothing special about Ramune. But what makes it different from other soft drinks usually offered in cans or bottles is that it is sold in a “Codd-neck bottle.”
This peculiar type of vessel is made from thick glass, and rather than having a traditional twist-off cap, a small round glass marble seals the Codd-neck bottle. The marble is held securely in place solely by the carbonated contents inside. Note that Ramune is also sold in aluminum cans or plastic bottles.
Now that you know what Ramune is let’s dive a little deeper into where the idea for Ramune came from!
The History Of Ramune Soda
As we’ve already mentioned, Ramune is a Japanese soda initially sold in the Kobe foreign settlement, also known as the Kobe foreign concession. As a foreign settlement, this region was designated by the Japanese government as a place that allowed foreign individuals to work and live in harmony with Japanese people.
It was precisely here that Alexander Cameron Sim lived and worked as a pharmacist for a foreign firm until, one day, he started his own company called A.C. Sim Shōkai. Sim’s company specialized in the import of medicine and medical supplies.
A few years later, Sim introduced his carbonated concoction as a preventative treatment for cholera, which plagued the region.
Today, Ramune has become one of Japanese culture’s most popular carbonated drinks.
So whether you’re sun-tanning at the beach or enjoying your time with friends at a festival on a warm summer day, you’re bound to see people consuming these tasty drinks almost anywhere you go in Japan.
Ramune’s Unique Codd-Neck Pop Bottle
One of Ramune’s most notable features is the distinctive Codd-neck bottle in which the drinks are sold. These unique bottles were initially designed and patented by soft drink maker Hiram Codd in London, England.
C0dd-neck bottles are made from thick glass, which helps them withstand the internal pressure of their carbonated contents. However, what sets them apart from other glass soda bottles is that these bottles have a separate chamber in the neck that houses a small marble.
This marble is the mechanism used to seal the carbonation inside the bottle instead of a traditional twist-off cap.
Because of this unique mechanism, outside of Japanese culture, Ramune is sometimes referred to as “mabu soda” or “marble soda.”
During the manufacturing process, the bottles are filled while upside down, allowing the internal pressure to push the marble against a rubber washer, forming an airtight seal.
To open one of these nifty-looking bottles for a drink, a plastic device is used to push the marble forward inside the neck of the bottle, where it is free to roll around and rattle while you drink.
While these bottles were once popular among all drink manufacturers, today, Banta, a popular Indian pop drink, is one of the only soft drinks that still uses the Codd-neck bottle.
What Flavors Does Ramune Come In?
Originally, Japanese Ramune soda had a flavor based on the lychee fruit. However, today, Ramune makers are proposing more than 50 distinctive flavors, such as:
While many of Ramune’s flavors are based on sweet and tasty fruits, you might also find a few slightly more bizarre and lesser-known variations of the soft drink, including:
- Chilli oil
- Corn potage
- Cream stew
- Takoyaki sauce
Japanese Ramune Soda – Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve covered what Ramune soda is and where it came from, let’s look at a few of the most common questions we hear asked about Ramune.
Why is there a marble in Ramune?
The purpose of the marble found inside a glass bottle of Ramune, also sometimes referred to as “marble soda,” is to seal the carbonation inside. However, this unique feature distinguishes Ramune from many of its Western counterparts. Banta is another similar soft drink sold in India, using the same type of marble as a seal.
How do I open a bottle of Ramune?
Start by tearing open the seal and removing the included opener device. You’ll then need to insert the opener into the bottle, pointing it towards the marble. Next, gently push the opener against the marble until it finally pops down into the soda. And now, you’re ready to drink!
Is Ramune healthier than soda?
Ramune is not healthier than other soft drinks, such as Coca-Cola or Pepsi. After all, it is a carbonated beverage that contains roughly 19 grams of carbohydrates and 17 grams sugar. Each Ramune bottle contains 88 calories, compared to the 139 calories in a regular can of Coca-Cola.
That said, it’s perfectly safe and acceptable to drink Ramune in moderation!
What is unique about Ramune?
Although Ramune is similar to many other lemonade brands on the market, it is special because of the unique design of its bottles, known as Codd-neck bottles. These bottles are made from thick glass and are sealed with a small marble held in place by the carbonation itself. It makes the experience of drinking Ramune soda unique and fun compared to any other lemonade.
Additionally, the Japanese soda is available in a wide variety of tasty flavors, such as melon flavor that children and adults love.
Are Ramune’s Codd-neck bottles recyclable?
Yes, the bottles that Ramune soda is sold in are fully recyclable and are usually collected at stores or stalls where it is sold. However, because of their unique appearance, people sometimes like to reuse Ramune bottles as vases for flowers, decorations, or candle lanterns.
Is Ramune alcoholic?
No, Ramune is not an alcoholic beverage but a popular soda in Japan. However, like many other carbonated non-alcoholic beverages, the diverse range of flavors that Ramune is available in makes it ideal for mixing alcoholic drinks. Ramune can be combined with alcohols, such as whiskey, rum, vodka, or gin, to provide that perfect splash of flavor.
Getting To Know Japan’s Most Beloved Soft Drink – Japanese Ramune Soda
In much of the western world, brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are the dominant names in the soft drink industry. But, Japanese culture has its idea for a great, refreshing beverage.
Cue the Ramune!
Although it’s been around for over 100 years, to this day, Ramune is known as one of Japan’s most recognizable summertime symbols.
So for those who already love Japanese Ramune drinks, we hope you now know more about this Japanese delight. And if you still haven’t tried this sweet and tasty carbonated concoction, we strongly suggest you do!