Two bottles of ramune soda against a white background
Food - Drink
Ramune: The Japanese Lemon Soda With A Marble In It
Ramune is a popular Japanese drink that can be found just about anywhere in the country, from street-side vendors to convenience stores. Ramune's name comes from the English word "lemonade," since the first versions of this soda were based on the popular lemon drink, but with a different flavor and unique bottle design.
Scottish pharmacist Alexander Cameron Sim invented the first version of ramune in the late 19th century, in what is now Kobe, Japan. The drink was originally called "mabu soda," or marble soda, due to its unique design with a marble in the neck of the glass bottle, and drinkers used the soda to ward off the disease cholera.
Today, ramune bottles comes with a little plastic plunger built into the cap, with a marble sealing the drink shut. To open the bottle, you pop out the plunger, place over the marble, and firmly push the marble down into the neck of the bottle, which catches the marble so it doesn't fall into your drink and instead keeps it nice and carbonated.
Today, ramune is sold all over the world in dozens of fruity flavors, though the classic ramune flavor is most similar to lemon-lime. If you just can't get the hang of opening commercial ramune bottles, make your own ramune by mixing lemon juice with sugar until the sugar fully dissolves, then add carbonated water and simple syrup.