I love curating vintage, colonial, heritage & antique items since a teenager. Goti Soda always fascinated me with its unique bottle design.
Goli / Banta Soda: The Oldest Desi Cool Drink Without a Cork
Distinctive Banta Soda Bottles: Its Brief History, Characteristics & Features
There will be none in India who has not heard about the ubiquitous marble soda bottles. People in India have grown up drinking this oldest summer thirst quencher, since the 19th Century.
It is commonplace to find green & cobalt-blue color trademark bottles in most rural villages of India. The manufacturing machines are too in good shape, to mass-produce these pop sodas.
Although lost in the transition to modern carbonated drinks, Goti(marble) sodas still evoke nostalgic feelings.
Goti Soda achieved cult status in the '80s and '90s and has made a comeback lately in a new avatar. People still swear by its thirst-quenching ability.
It is known by various names - In Hindi Goti(Goli), In Punjabi(Banta), In Bengali (Fotash Jawl).
Every state has its own popular local version and sold through old fashioned hand carts in street corners. In Japan, the Codd necked bottle is called' Ramune'.
The etymology of Goti soda is due to the presence of 'Goti(marble)' in its neck. The bottle comes in a heavy, sturdy design compressed at its neck. The marble is held by constriction on both sides.
Doubts about water contamination are very distant, due to the presence of an airtight rubber jacket under the marble, ensconced within the pressed neck of the bottle.
The water is filled under gas pressure, which pushes the marble against the rubber seal in the crevice of the neck. The consumer has to push the marble below to release the CO2 gas.
It was first designed and patented by English Mechanical Engineer Hiram Codd & Rylands in 1872.
It was Rylands manufacturing prowess combined with Hirams ingenuity that led to the invention of Codd neck bottles. Codd also invented the bottle opener lid, which had to be pressed against the marble.
The bottle served 4 purposes:
- The marble prevented the water from spilling when turned upside down
- The bottle could be reused again, after washing with caustic soda solution
- Resealing the marble by shaking the bottle vigorously and then turning it
- Green color kept the bottle and water cool
Soda is acidic and raises sugar level, but when it comes to Goti & Duke Sodas, the temptation to have it overtakes you. They have a sharp punch which is hard to resist.
Advantages of drinking Goti Soda:
- Natural Hydrating agent & coolant
- Provides a sugar boost to the body
Although Codd sodas have a litany of good points, there are a few disadvantages of using these bottles also, along with some important cautions.
- Very expensive to maintain & clean
- The bottles are expensive to manufacture due to the weight of the glass used. Then comes the stamping, which has to be embossed externally.
- Difficult to transport
- Bottles can't be sterilized and have to be cleaned with caustic soda solution
- More time to clean
- The CO2 pressure inside the bottle is high, and accidentally breaking it by force can send a sliver of glass pieces flying all around. This can be extremely dangerous as the thick glass can do heavy damage.
- The pressure needs to be maintained at the correct value when manufacturing. Not doing so can be dangerous to the bottler as well as the end consumer.
Codd bottles were originally designed to keep effervescence intact, to prevent gas from leaking.
The original flavors were lemon & orange, but of late it is available in all types of flavors, including strawberry, grapes, watermelon, in upmarket areas.
But due to the high cost of manufacturing and intense competition from MNC brands with cap lid bottles, many Goti soda old-timers had to shut shop.
But now there is a silent resurgence in Goti soda market, with demand coming from the old folks, students & even hip pubs.
The bottles are prized for their antique value by collectors. Khandelwal Glassworks, established in 1932, still manufactures these Codd stopper bottles in India.
Arora Lemon, Kali Aerated Waterworks, Vasu Soda Company are some other manufacturers still keeping the tradition alive.
Tamil Nadu, India has been a manufacturing hub for Goti soda for a long time. Even today, you will find stalls and hawkers dispensing these cobalt blues gems.
In Goa, India, Eknath Oraskar & Babu Sodas, Vasco Da Gama have kept this heritage alive.
Some Banta Soda Trendy Flavours: A List
- Kala Khatta Banta (black liquid syrupy )
- Himalayan Buransh Banta (a drink made from the flavor of Rhondenderon flowers)
- Kala Jamun Banta (Indian blueberry or Black Plum)
- Lemon Banta (Lemonade)
- Rose Banta
- Mango Banta
- Ginger Lemon Squash
- Rasberry and many more...
These cocktails and trendy flavors are now available in Pubs, Bars, Supermarkets, and high-end stores.
Video Reference of making Banta Soda:
Hassle Free Process of Bottling a Banta Soda:
Step 1: First install the Codd soda machine and connect it to the CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) gas cylinder.
Step 2: Fill the water/syrup up to the marble in the Codd bottles. Keep a minimum of 3 filled bottles inside the Codd machine
Step 3: Ensure bottles are placed correctly inside the machine
Step 4: Close the outer lid of the machine
Step 5: Turn on the cylinder to allow the CO2 gas to flow and rotate swing the machine 6-7 times (this may vary)
Step 6: Open the lid of the machine. Bottles will be sealed and ready to drink
Going back to the Roots: Revisiting Banta Soda
Long before the arrival of MNCs like Coca Cola & Pepsi, the humble desi Goli Soda had already made its mark. It was an elite mixer for the British and featured in clubs during the rule.
Once a reserve beverage and available only at British military canteens & clubs is now a street staple.
Thanks to the immense popularity it achieved as a summer coolant and for its unique design. Delhi in North India is called as the 'Goti Soda' place.
There were other hit desi brands also like Gold Spot, Limca, Citra which ruled the market in the 90's.
Gold Spot was one of the three extremely popular brands of carbonated soft drinks, started by Parle Bisleri in India.
Due to the lucrative market, more companies followed with popular brands like Sosyo, N-Jal, Pallonji, Torrino, Bovonto, etc.
The Codd neck bottles are now a rage, and have made its quiet entry in bar menus, pubs, and supermarkets, with its twists and cocktails.
These sodas are slowly gaining popularity and are now trying to get in the same league as Schweppes tonic water, Duke Sodas, and Energy drinks.
It can be paired with lemon tangerine, Vodka, Gin, Rum, and other spirits based on color and taste preference.
Local street vendors have a different recipe - They combine Chaat Masala, Black Salt (Kala Namak) and Lime to the drink. This recipe is heavenly!
There are other carbonated variants of popular lemonades also like 'Shikanjivi'(lemon on rocks) and 'Jal-Jeera'
Companies like Bombay Canteen and SodaBottleOpenerWala have infused new life into this market by pairing cocktails and new recipes.
This tinged conventional soda with its crispy freshness is rediscovering new markets with its resilience.
Even a Middle East country like Kuwait is giving rebirth to this desi drink through some innovative people there.
So what are you waiting for? Rekindle the fond memories of your childhood.
Rattle the bottle, bring up the fizzy logic, release the marble in the chamber with a whoosh & take your swig.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Danny
Danny (author) from India on July 15, 2020:
Welcome, Linda. It is a unique and traditional drink mostly consumed in India.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 14, 2020:
This is an interesting and enjoyable article. It's informative as well. I've never heard of a Codd neck bottle or of the drinks that you describe. Thanks for sharing the information, Danny.
Danny (author) from India on July 13, 2020:
Welcome, Pamela mam. Yes these Goti sodas are unique and available in nook and corners of rural India.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 13, 2020:
Thur drink bottles are certainy unique. Your description of all the sodas and the bottles is very good. Thanks for enlightening us.
Danny (author) from India on July 13, 2020:
Glad that you liked the article mam. Thanks a lot for your vote.
FlourishAnyway from USA on July 13, 2020:
A very interesting description of the bottles as well as the sodas. Visiting the Coca Cola museum I was able to taste Coke soda types from all over the world and it’s interesting how very different they are — some very very sweet, others flat, tea-like or a little tangy. Your article reminded me of that.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 12, 2020:
Its well appreciated.
Danny (author) from India on July 12, 2020:
Thanks for your vote Sir
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on July 11, 2020:
Danny, this is wonderful. Thanks.