One of the chores that I had to do weekly when I was little was refilling two large soda syphons in a little kiosk a few blocks away from where we lived in Odessa. You can still buy a soda syphon today, but these are crummy tiny cartridge operated ones. Mine were big metal units that were refilled by what was probably a hundred year old machine operated by a cantankerous old dude or his equally cantankerous wife.
In the kiosk they also sold soda by the glass, adding syrup from a very interesting dispenser that operated on the same principle as a titration buret. The choice of syrups was the same as in soda vending machines.
Once, on a trip to Kiev, my father took me to an amazing giant shop that sold soda. They had a whole forest of those syrup dispensers, all different. The place was operated since before the revolution of 1917 (a huge rarity in the Soviet Union). I remember trying the most delicious tarragon flavored soda.
Actually a very delicious bottled tarragon soda was also sold in the Soviet Union under the brand name “Tarhun”.
Soviet soda was sold in glass bottles with crescent shaped labels. For some weird reason Pepsi was sometimes made available in different bottles with square labels. I’ve never seen a Soviet Coke bottle, but apparently they existed :
I had my first taste of Coke in Moscow in the late eighties in a theater’s concession stand.
The label above and the ones below are from the site of some dude who has an amazing collection of Soviet soda labels. he sells them at $2.50 a pop. I think I’ll buy some. Oooh, these bring back a lot of memories.
One of the neighborhood grocery stores here in Brooklyn once stocked very interesting plastic seltzer bottles from Brazil (I think) that operated as siphons. Iv’e never seen ones like that since.