During a recent trip to the Metroplex to visit Nana, my local guide — when visiting foreign lands it’s best to acquire the services of a local guide — introduced me to Ramune soda.

An Engrish version of “lemonade” original-flavour Ramune is a light citrus-y drink that is rather good, actually.

What is absolutely charming about Ramune is that it is packaged in Codd bottles.

In 1872, London engineer Hiram Codd patented a unique and fairly radical way to bottle pressurized liquids.

To fill a Codd bottle, you first introduce a polished glass marble into the bottle itself. A rubber gasket (plastic today) containing a hole somewhat smaller than the diametre of the marble is fitted into the mouth of the bottle.

The bottle is then inverted, and your beverage of choice is squirted into the bottle, followed by a stiff shot of carbonation. Gravity pulls the marble down towards the gasket, where the pressurization forces the marble into the gasket hole, producing a wonderful seal.

A secondary lid (to prevent accidental decanting of the drink — and, coincidentally enough, preventing contamination of the drinking surface of the bottle) containing an opening device is then fitted over the marble and gasket.

To open, one removes the secondary lid, exposing the marble and what looks for all the world like a hyper-steroidal thumbtack. The lid is thrown away, and the stem of the “thumbtack” is placed upon the marble, followed by a firm push — or good whack — with the palm of the hand, forcing the marble back down into the bottle and allowing the drink to be consumed.

I had no idea that the Codd bottles of the Victorian Age were still being used.

Absolutely charming — and not a bad drink, either.


Oh. My. Gawd.
Burns Night

15 thoughts on “Ramune”

  1. My grandma had some of these bottles. One additional feature was a pair of little glass “fins” on the inside of the bottle, which you would catch the ball on, so it wouldn’t fall back into the opening when you were drinking.

    I had the impression that the bottle was formed with the glass ball inside. I couldn’t figure out how to get it in otherwise.

  2. The Japanese still use those bottles in a number of their fizzy drinks.

    Popping the marble in normally causes quite a gush from the beverage.

  3. Huh… I didn’t know, before today what a Codd’s bottle was, and now, this evening, I’ve come across two of the bloggers I read regularly that taught me what it was.

    Life is an amazing thing.

  4. Very interesting. Can you tell me where you managed to find those soft drinks? Or did your native guide conduct you to a realm unknown for the purchase?

    E-mail or phone call is fine, when you have the chance.

  5. “Can you tell me where you managed to find those soft drinks?”

    All my local asian groceries (DE and MD) carry Codd-bottled asian sodas. You will pay a significant markup for the novelty, but they’re still worth buying.

    Oh and do open them outside, popping the marble often causes a carbonated overflow and you don’t want to get sticky soda on the floor of the shop or your car.

  6. Seen alot of these lately. Its a “new fad” in teen energy drinks.

    Way I had it introduced to me is one of the kids from the sis-n-law’s hubby’s former marriage (man that sounds like a bad joke) came to me to “open” said bottle and I was hummitzed as to how to do it.

    She had thrown the little spike away…O_o

    Fortunately, we had a second one to pull from and someone to drink that one so, it worked out.

  7. LOL!
    Never mind the true derivation of that particular comboword.
    Sen-Sen Market/Bazaar in Dallas. Go armed with an appetite, because some of the food there is to die for.
    Added advantage is that the remonade is about half the price that it is elsewhere.

  8. The others beat me to it. By all means, visit your local Asian food store. Tokyo Market (Wards Corner Shopping Center, Norfolk, VA, if I’m gonna plug may as well do it right) has soda in the cold food section with the marbles.

    Hubby spent his first 7 years in Japan (Japanese Mom and Navy Dad) and reports he had soda of that variety on a regular basis. The brand name might be “cow piz” (pronounced that way).

    While I’m plugging stuff…

  9. Sen-Sen Market/Bazaar in Dallas. We haven’t had any trouble with the fizz because the ‘thumb tack’ stops the carbonation from overflowing.

  10. I had one of these in Japan on a hot summer day after an afternoon of orienteering in the mountains of Kyushyu. It was quite tasty and refreshing. I have the bottle still.

    There are plastic versions as well.

    I had no idea they were Victorian.

  11. Janie B said… ‘The brand name might be “cow piz” (pronounced that way).’

    At the University of Auckland we called this unfortunately-named drink ‘Yogurt Soda’, which is not much of an improvement. The original moniker ‘Calpis’ supposedly means ‘Supreme Calcium Taste’.

    And yet it tastes nothing like calcium carbonate.

    These funny names did not encourage newcomers to find out if they liked the (bizarre but pleasant) taste, and it lacked any interesting bottle design. It seems Ramune has Calpis beat in terms of marketing.


  12. Uwajimaya market in Beaverton OR carries the brand as well … bought a bunch and distributed them at work today just to boggle the other techs.

  13. LawDog,

    They are quite widespread in southern parts of India where they are called “Golie Soda” (“golie” being the Tamil word for ‘Marble’).


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