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    Soda Pop Around the Globe
    In the November/December issue of AFAR, we explored the world by taste-testing colorful, fizzy beverages from a range of countries. We came back with invigorated taste buds, a magnified sweet tooth, and extremely high blood-sugar levels.

    Take a scroll through the slideshow to learn about 28 of our favorite specialty sodas, and hear how the AFAR team reacted to the distinctive flavors of these drinks from around the world!

    Photos by Jeffery Cross

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    1. IRAN
    This traditional drink in Iran is made from yogurt and has a texture similar to that of curdled milk. It is generally served chilled and seasoned with mint. Its technical name, doogh, derives from the Persian word for milking, dooshidan
    Warning: not for the weak-stomached.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    2. RUSSIA
    Tarkhun, the traditional soda in Russia, is a carbonated drink flavored with tarragon leaves and well-known for its distinctive green color. In 1887, a pharmacist invented the drink when he added carbonated water to his herbal tarragon syrup mixes.
    We promise it tastes better than it sounds!

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    Irn Bru, pronounced "iron brew," is nonalcoholic, contrary to what the name may suggest. The neon orange fizzy drink is such a national source of pride that it outsells Coca-Cola in Scotland, making that country one of the few places in the world where Coca-Cola isn’t the leading brand.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    4. JAPAN
    This Japanese soft drink gets its name from the English word "lemonade," which was then transliterated into Japanese. Ramuné is widely known for the shape of its bottle, which is made of glass and sealed with a marble, hence its nickname "marble soda" outside of Japan.

    To open the bottle, you must push the marble inside the neck of the bottle, where it rattles around while you drink.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    Tab was a popular diet cola produced by the Coca-Cola Company. It was essentially replaced by Diet Coke, which was introduced in the United States in 1982.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    This cream soda is manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company in South Africa and distributed all around the continent. It’s often referred to as the "Green Ambulance" because it is believed to alleviate the effects of hangovers.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    7. ECUADOR
    AFAR’s associate editor @wandereatrepeat said this drink tastes "like a lollipop you get at the doctor’s office." We’ll let you decide if that’s a good or bad thing. 

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    AFAR's editorial intern @sarahbuder was nervous about trying this cherry cola, but was genuinely surprised by its agreeable taste. We’d recommend Milca Roja—invented in Nicaragua and family-owned—to any cherry cola lover!

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    9. FRANCE
    Orangina is now a popular drink all over the world, but few people know that it originated in France in 1936. This sparkling beverage made with fruit juice is one of our favorites!

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    10. JAMAICA
    We’d drink almost anything on the beach in Jamaica, but this carbonated grapefruit juice would definitely be our top pick.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross

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    11. INDIA
    This refreshing, bubbly, lemon-lime soft drink is manufactured and sold in India, as well as Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, and Zambia

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    You’ll find Coco Rico, a carbonated coconut-flavored beverage, nearly everywhere in Puerto Rico. The drink is subtle and sweet—the perfect thing to sip while relaxing on the beach!  

    Photo by Jeffery Cross

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    Dandelion and burdock have been consumed in the United Kingdom since the Middle Ages. Traditionally, this drink was made from fermented dandelion and burdock roots (hence the name). It’s believed that both plants are beneficial to healthy liver function, so you don't have to feel guilty about consuming this soda, because it’s actually kind of healthy.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    14. JAPAN
    Japan keeps things interesting when it comes to soft drinks. This plum-flavored beverage is a joy on our taste buds!

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    15. GERMANY
    AFAR’s audience marketing and planning director Laura Simkins gave this German cola 3 out of 5 stars. We’d say that’s worth giving it a try.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    16. BRAZIL
    This Brazilian soda is made from the seeds of the South American plant guaraná, which has been used by natives of the Amazon for hundreds of years due to its stimulating properties. Today, this soda makes up at least one-quarter of Brazil’s soft drink market.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    17. JAPAN
    AFAR’s associate editor @wandereatrepeat was pleasantly surprised by the taste of this popular drink in Japan. "It tastes like grape soda," she said. "But maybe a little less bubbly."

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    18. MEXICO
    The name of this drink, Jarritos, translates literally to "little jugs" in Spanish and refers to the Mexican tradition of drinking out of pottery jugs.

    AFAR’s associate editor @aislynj described the taste as "a Mexican sunset, bottled." 

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    19. GREECE
    Ouzon, pronounced “OO-zone,” is an all-natural sparkling drink crafted from pure cane sugar. The soda’s flavor is based on the flavor of ouzo, the unofficial national liqueur of Greece.

    AFAR’s editorial interns @sarahbuder and @ashleygoldsmith insisted the drink tasted like alcohol when they sampled it—it turns out they were right!

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    20. RUSSIA
    AFAR’s associate editor @aislynj was impressed by this Russian soda, claiming it tasted like herbal lemonade. Yum!

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    21. CUBA
    This carbonated soft drink uses yerba mate (the traditional drink made from the dried leaves of a native South American plant) as a base. It is said to offer the strength of coffee, but the health benefits of tea.

    Materva has been described as "a staple of the Cuban pantry" due to its significance as a popular drink before and after the revolution.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    22. HUNGARY
    This "original rose petal soda" surprised AFAR’s executive editor @jsaum. "I liked that more than I thought I would," he said as he sipped on the Hungarian drink. "I find myself wanting to drink it faster."

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    23. GERMANY
    AFAR’s editorial intern @ashleygoldsmith described the flavor of this German drink as "lingering, sweet, orangey and syrupy." She told us she would continue to drink the lemonade cola, so we’re going to assume she liked it.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    This pink grapefruit drink is just one of many things Australia does well. These craft-brewed beverages are offered in many different flavors and come both carbonated and uncarbonated.

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    25. CANADA
    This soda was initially created in the town of London—but not the one we’re all thinking of. The Pop Shoppe is from London, Ontario, which makes this drink Canadian, through and through. 

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    26. AUSTRIA
    This herbal soda has been called "the national drink of Austria." The name, Almdudler, is derived from a popular phrase at the time the drink was created, auf der Alm dudeln, which means "yodeling in the pasture."

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    27. MEXICO
    Squirt is another Mexican soda that is now popular worldwide. The famous grapefruit drink is made with real cane sugar. We love everything about this drink, from the taste to the fun bottle!

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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    Carbonated milk might not be at the top of your list of beverages to try, but trust us, don’t knock it till you try it.

    "If you put skittles through a prism, and they became one beam of milky light," said AFAR's executive editor @jsaum, "that’s what this tastes like."

    Photo by Jeffery Cross
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Taste the World: 28 Unique Soft Drinks from Around the Globe

Because you can’t fully know a country until you’ve slurped down its signature soda.