When John Pemberton created the formula for Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, he could never have imagined that his simple recipe was going to evolve into the most popular beverage in the world. But indeed it did, partly because if there’s one thing everybody in the world can agree on, it’s that the sweet, carbonated beverages we call “soda” taste extraordinarily good.
Perhaps this list should be dedicated to world peace – since if we can agree on what to drink we should be able to agree on everything else. Or perhaps it should just be dedicated to the beginning of spring – since soda is definitely a warm-weather drink.
Coke is the most popular soda in the world. It is so entrenched, in fact, that in many parts of the world, including most of Africa, the subcontinent of India, and half of Philadelphia, “soda” is referred to as “Coke” even when it’s not Coca-Cola at all. (I’ve witnessed a cooler stuffed with 7-Up referred to as a cooler full of Cokes.) That’s the legacy of John Pemberton of Eagle Drug and Chemical Company in Columbus, Georgia – an iconic red-canned beverage sold everywhere in the world except for North Korea and Cuba.
When the Pepsi Cola Company made a run at challenging Coca-Cola for market dominance, it had a long, hard road ahead of it. With a slightly different, sweeter taste, consumers could tell Coke and Pepsi apart, and Coke had already become second-nature. However, through relentless marketing and the shrewd execution of their business strategy, PepsiCo’s signature beverage has nearly evened the field with Coke in much of the developed world, and it is becoming more popular in the developing world as well.
3. Dr. Pepper
Dr. Pepper is an old brand of soft drink, dating its origins back to Waco, TX, in the 1880s. Originally marketed across the US in 1904, the soft drink has always been popular, in part because it has a highly distinctive taste that no other soft drink has ever quite emulated. Because of that, when you want a Dr. Pepper, you have to have a Dr. Pepper to get that flavor.
Okay, Leninade might not be quite the ubiquitous brand that Coke or Pepsi is, but it deserves a place on the list for a couple of reasons. First, if you can find it (try Cybercandy.co.uk) and taste it, I’m confident that you’ll find the flavor is as good as anything out there. And second, it’s sort of like the “Firefly” of the soda world – a cult beverage whose followers will go way out of their way to score a bottle.
5. Root Beer
While it is sold under hundreds of different brands and comes in many different forms, from very sweet to very dry, root beer is a favorite type of soda the world over. It is also a type of soda that more and more people are starting to make on their own, either to save money or to control the ingredients and health value of the beverage they consume.