An effervescent exploration of the global history and myriad symbolic meanings of carbonated beverages.
More than eighty years before the invention of Coca-Cola, sweet carbonated drinks became popular around the world, provoking arguments remarkably similar to those they prompt today. Are they medicinally, morally, culturally, or nutritionally good or bad? Seemingly since their invention, they have been loved—and hated—for being cold or sweet or fizzy or stimulating. Many of their flavors are international: lemon and ginger were more popular than cola until about 1920. Some are local: tarragon in Russia, cucumber in New York, red bean in Japan, and chinotto (exceedingly bitter orange) in Italy. This book looks not only at how something made from water, sugar, and soda became big business, but also how it became deeply important to people—for fizzy drinks’ symbolic meanings are far more complex than the water, gas, and sugar from which they are made.
About the Author
Judith Levin has worked as a librarian, book editor, and writer. Her books include Japanese Mythology and Tattoos and Indigenous Peoples.
“A sweeping history of soft drinks . . . [that includes] coverage of patent medicines, the science of fizz, the politics and worldwide spread of Coke and Pepsi, and the wide range of ingredients, drugs, and sweeteners that have gone into these drinks.” — Mark Pendergrast, author of "For God, Country and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It"