A Profile of India’s favourite fizzy drink: The Goli Soda
The experience of summer months in India are not worth writing about if you haven’t had a few chilled Bantas! Among countless stories and memories, we grew up on; cold fizzy drinks like Gold Spot, Rooh Afza, Sosyo, Frooti, and Banta take us a trip down memory lane. In fact, it’s hard to forget the school-time vacations, disrupted by long train journeys, but accompanied with a chilled goli soda.
Today, when we speak of some of the most popular homegrown Indian drinks, the list remains incomplete without a mention of Banta soda. Till date, Banta soda continues to be known across Delhi for its exclusive marble stopper. Surprisingly, this stopper was also one of the reasons why the British empire put a ban on the Codd bottles in the early 1900s, since they were used as rough-and-ready weapons during the freedom struggle. Moreover, there were two ways of using Banta goli soda – one to quench the thirst and the other, to use as hardy as missiles, when empty. Whether there would be street fights between gangs or a full on riot between political parties; all that was needed was a bottle or two of Banta!
What pops into our head the moment we talk about Banta soda is the visual of lime soda, filled in a Codd bottle, flavored and spiced with masala and kala namak. In the earlier days, this drink would often be introduced as “Delhi’s local drink”, which once served as nothing less than a tonic in itself, for kids, especially! Among many places across the city, Delhi University region, Sarojini Nagar, and Chandni Chowk had the greatest number of vendors selling this fizzy drink at a meagre rate of seven, which now costs almost Rs. 30. And just like North India, South India, too, has its own version of Banta, sold in a similar way as an inexpensive street drink on a push cart.
How is Banta made?
The preparation of banta is quite similar to that of any other carbonated drink, just that the sealing procedure is different. It is prepared by mixing dry ingredients or fresh ingredients like lemons, oranges, salt, water et al depending on the flavour. The mixture is then poured in to the bottle through a funnel until it is filled to the brim. Soon after, the bottle is placed in the soda machine, which holds the bottle firmly. The mouth of the bottle is then closed with a nozzle, which infuses the mixture with carbon dioxide. The bottle container is rotated for about two to three times so that some of the carbon dioxide gets dissolved and pushes the marble to the top. There is a rubber ring that stops the marble to spring open. As soon as the marble comes on the neck, the bottle is sealed closed. These bottles are reusable
The rise and popularity of other carbonated drinks may have upped the competition for Banta, but the desi soda flavoured drink still remains the favourite thirst quencher for many, giving other types of cola a run for their money.