Ramune, the popular Japanese soda with a marble in the bottle, is a refreshing carbonated beverage with a lemon-lime flavor. The ramune marble is contained within the bottle in order to help the soft drink retain its fizz by preventing gas from leaking out of the glass bottle.
The Beginnings of the Ramune Drink
While there are a few theories tracing the exact origins of the Japanese ramune beverage, it was initially introduced around the late 19th century. One theory suggests that ramune was first served to shogunate officials by American Naval Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853, while another story purports that ramune was first sold as “remon sui,” or lemon water, in 1856 in Nagasaki by Hannbee Fujise.
An additional theory traces ramune to having first been introduced to the Kobe Foreign Settlement by Scottish pharmacist and entrepreneur Alexander Cameron Sim. The word "ramune" is phonetically derived from the English lemonade of lemon water.
Ramune’s Rise in Popularity
The ramune beverage quickly rose in popularity throughout Japan after 1888, when it began to be packaged in its iconic Codd-neck bottles. Made from glass, these Codd-neck bottles are filled from the bottom. They are then sealed at the top with a marble.
Once the bottle is completely filled with its carbonated liquid soda, the gas pressure in the bottle forces the marble to push against a rubber ring at the top. This then seals in the carbonation, maintain the beverage’s bubbly fizz until it is opened, allowing for a refreshing, perfect flavor at first sip. Ramune is among the few soft drinks in the world that still utilizes these types of Codd-neck bottles.
While modern Japanese ramune is now served in an array of flavors including melon, strawberry, orange and blueberry, the traditional ramune flavor of lemon-lime is still the most widely recognized flavor and remains the most popular version of the drink.
Pop the Bottle the Right Way
From the top of the bottle, completely remove the outer wrapper. There will be a plunger topper and a plastic ring sitting loosely on the top of the bottle. Remove the plunger, take off the plastic ring and set it aside.
The top of the ramune soda marble will be sitting just inside the bottle. Place the plunger topper on top of the marble. Push down until the marble falls into the wider part of the neck of the bottle, which is the marble chamber.
Some bottles may have two small grooves on one side of the marble chamber. Allow the marble to roll toward these grooves while drinking the ramune soda. The side grooves will stop the marble from rolling further and blocking the flow of the liquid. Sip on the Japanese ramune soda next time the craving for a bubbly beverage with a fizzy, refreshing, lemon-lime flavor hits!