The weather has been fantastic in Newcastle this week signalling the start of the journey towards the summer, why not usher it in with a nice cool drink of Ramune (ラムネ)?
Ramune is a modern symbol of summer in Japan and is often enjoyed by all ages all over Asia. The drink is commonly associated with hot summer nights and is frequently drunk during summer festivals. The drink was first introduced in Kobe, Japan, in 1884 by the Scottish entrepreneur Alexander Cameron Sim who first advertised it to the local populous as a preventative for Cholera, since then the drink has gone on to become ingrained into Japanese culture, even a bottle makes its way into ‘My Neighbour Totoro’!
Ramune comes in many flavours, but the traditional flavour is lemon-lime, and it is a refreshing experience not dissimilar to sprite. The real attraction with Ramune is the bottle that it is packaged in; when Sim introduced the drink originally he cannily tapped into the novelty aspect that could be given to the drink when packaged in the English engineer Hiram Codd’s ‘Codd bottle’. This unusually shaped glass bottle immediately stands out from the crowd, and uses the carbonated drinks own pressure to keep a marble in place under the rim, sealing the drink inside the bottle.
Here is a step by step guide to enjoying a Ramune, a surprisingly difficult process for those unfamiliar with the product
- Remove the plastic wrapping from the top of the bottle
- Remove the cap
- Remove the inner cap and pop out the stopper pusher from it
- Place the stopper pusher on top of the hole in the top of the bottle and push firmly
- The marble will be released and the drink is ready to consume
The marble can sometimes become a hindrance and block the liquid from the opening, so it is best enjoyed with a straw which is available upon request from stores when buying a Ramune.
You can buy Ramune from Hiyou (Newgate Street) or 7Days ( St. Andrews Street), the drink is priced at around 80p – £2.00 (plastic bottles are cheaper than the glass ones), find Ramune in the chiller fridges. The drink is certainly a refreshing experience on hot days like these, enjoy!