Soft drinks are a relatively new concept in human history. Before their advent, there was no beverage you could make that wouldn’t have eventually fermented, and become alcoholic.
Soft drinks are anything non-alcoholic. The description “soft” comes about because anything containing alcohol is assumed to be “hard.”
Generally soft drinks are made from water, a sweetener, and flavouring. The water can include some juice from either a fruit or a vegetable.
The category includes beverages like soda pop, soft drinks, phosphates, iced tea, milk shakes, ice cream floats, ice cream sodas, North American style cider, squash (as in the drink syrup you mix up at home with water), energy drinks, bottled water (still or sparkling), and lemonade.
Most soft drinks sold are carbonated. They are sold retail in bottles, cans and in tetrapaks. In restaurants, they may also be dispensed from fountains.
The term “soft drinks” is almost never applied to hot beverages.
At first, most Soft Drinks were sold at drug store counters, mixed up for you on the spot. The invention of the “crown cap” in 1892 allowed bottled soft drinks to keep their fizz in. This meant consumers could buy them at stores to consume at home, and eventually the soda fountain died. Automatic vending machines begin dispensing bottled soft drinks in the 1920s.
In Ireland, for reasons unknown even to the Irish, Soft Drinks are referred to as “the minerals.”