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What Are Soft Drinks?

A soft drink.
Iced tea is a non-carbonated soft drink.
Mixed drinks are often flavored with soft drinks.
Carbonated water with flavor added can be considered a type of soft drink.
Soft drinks are in contrast to hard drinks, meaning hard liquor, although the two are sometimes combined.
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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 14 July 2014
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Soft drinks are typically carbonated, non-alcoholic beverages. The "soft" in the name was developed in contrast to "hard drinks" that contained hard liquor. They may go by a variety of aliases including soda pop, soda or pop. These types of drinks are normally sweet and may be served at room temperature or chilled.

Most people think of soft drinks as carbonated beverages that are usually served cold. Common flavors include cola, root beer, lemon-lime, orange, grape and ginger. They also encompass a host of non-carbonated drinks like iced tea, iced coffee, lemonade and fruit punch. Flavored waters, including both non-carbonated and carbonated varieties (like sports drinks and seltzers), are also types of soft drinks. Milk or other dairy-based drinks, though they may not contain liquor, usually are not included in this category. In some regions, drinks that contain less than 0.5% alcohol qualify as soft beverages.

Today’s soft drinks may be sold in individual serving size containers or larger bottles. The individual sizes are ordinarily available in aluminum cans or plastic bottles, whereas larger sizes typically come packaged in plastic containers. Soda making machines or fountain machines are also common sources of drinks, both commercially and at home.

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It is generally believed that the first soft drinks were created by adding herbs and spices to natural spring water. Later iterations included crushed fruits and flowers, adding some sweetness to the beverage. The first publicly marketed non-carbonated soft beverages was lemonade. Shortly after the invention of carbonated water in the 18th century, the first carbonated drink was made by adding various flavorings, like ginger, to the now carbonated water.

For many years following the invention of carbonated soft drinks, the beverages were only available at soda fountains that were typically part of drug stores and pharmacies. Workers called soda jerks filled glasses with carbonated water and then added flavors to suit the customers. Bottled carbonated drinks only became available after the 1891 invention of corked bottles.

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Discuss this Article

christym
Post 2

@snowywinter: I have another soft drink trivia for you. According to historians, what was U.S. Lyndon B. Johnson’s favorite soft drink?

Answer: Fresca. It is a citrus soft drink made by Coca-Cola. It is the only Coca-Cola product that doesn’t have a Pepsi equivalent.

SnowyWinter
Post 1

This was a trivia question that we had at our church fun night.

Dr. Pepper/SevenUp, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola all have their brand of root beer. A&W Root Beer is the bestselling out of all of them, belonging to Dr.Pepper/SevenUp. Mug Root Beer was bought by Pepsi in 1986 and Barq’s is part of Coca-Cola. What is special about Barq’s root beer?

Answer: Barq’s is the only major root beer that contains caffeine.

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