What is Soda Pop?

I know, it seems like a pretty simple question, with an even more obvious answer.  Different people call it by different names: soda, pop, fizzy water, soda pop, soft drink, or even just coke.  No matter what you call it – no, actually, if you call all pop “coke”, that’s just wrong – we all know, without really considering the matter, what you mean.

Coca-Cola is soda, water is not.  Hard, fast and certain.  But where are the boundaries?  They can get a little fizzy, err, fuzzy.  In order to set certain limits for myself, I’ll be using the following criteria:

  1. Soda must be carbonated.  Fizz is where it’s at, otherwise we’ll just call it juice…or juice substitute.
  2. Soda must be sweetened.  Really, if it isn’t sweetened, what’s the point?
  3. Soda must be flavoured. If it’s not flavoured, it’s just fizzy water, and that simply won’t do.
  4. Soda cannot be alcoholic.  That’s the whole point of it being a soft drink, as opposed to a hard drink.

So those are the four tenets, and chances are I will break each and every one of them by including something at some point, I assume carbonation being the exception to those exceptions.  Italian sodas may be sweetened, but they are not at all sweet, and in fact tend to be bitter.  Perrier started out as fizzy mineral water, but is now available in a variety fo fruit flavours.  Several alcohol labels now have prepackaged alcoholic sodas, like root beer and cola.  So let’s see what we can come up with to really push the boundaries.

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