Pop the Marble: 4 Top Ramune Brands of 2024 – Bokksu Market

Pop the Marble: 4 Top Ramune Brands of 2024

by Bokksu Staff

Since I came to New York, I’ve never had trouble picking out soda until I discovered ramune. Don’t get me wrong, the Japanese carbonated soft drink is one of my favorite non-alcoholic beverages. My problems only arise when choosing from the dozens of flavors and brands at Asian grocery stores.

I tried to find help online, but it seems everyone on the internet is just as overwhelmed by the sheer number of available options. So, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. Together with the rest of the folks at Bokksu Market, we embarked on a quest to bring the best ramune brands to customers of the platform.

In this post, I’ll reveal the full details of our curated list and provide insights into our meticulous ranking process. Enjoy!

Two women enjoying bottles of ramune Japanese soda.

Our Ramune Quest

Although I enjoyed every minute of our ramune quest, it wasn’t an easy task. We had to choose from dozens of different bottles and deliberate on each one. Sometimes, the deliberation got a little heated, but I take that as a sign that I picked a team passionate about what we were doing. In the end, the final results proved to be well worth the time and energy spent. Let’s dive into the top 4 ramune brands of 2024!

Sangaria Ramune Soda: Original - The Exquisite One

Bottles of Sangaria Ramune Soda.

What we loved: It uses natural flavors and real sugar.

Great for: Casual drinking in the summer.

On the surface, Sangaria Ramune Soda: Original has the appearance of your typical ramune: slender, long, colorful, and sealed with a round marble. The first real sign that I was onto something special came after my first sip of this ramune.

This ramune soda has a smooth, exquisite, and all-natural taste of lemon and citrus that’s both exciting and refreshing. I could envision myself indulging in one after a long shift at work or on a hot day, making it an ideal addition to my refrigerator and likely yours as well. It will also make a fun and exciting drink to serve at parties and get-togethers.

Although Sangaria Ramune Soda: Original qualifies as a fizzy drink, I like that the manufacturers didn’t go too heavy on the fizziness of soda. The product is only slightly carbonated.

Like most ramune, this product contains a considerable amount of sugar. However, we’re talking about real sugar here, which is always a better option than artificial sugars. The ramune is also made with zero caffeine, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, or sodium. Its semi-neutral flavor allows it to pair well with snacks, other fruity drinks, and even sushi.

The Sangaria’s original ramune may be at the top of our list, but you might want to try some of the other variants available. These flavors include orange, grape, peach, melon, and melon. Each one brings a fresh perspective to the brand. 

Sangaria Ramune Soda: Original

Ramune is the most popular treat in Japan! This sweet beverage has a complex, round and unique flavor, is made with real sugar and is slightly carbonated. The best part: The bottle is sealed with a marble! To open this marble soda, just remove the plastic on top, flip it over and Pop! Goes the marble! The pinched neck catches the marble, giving you a tinkle sound with every sip.

$3.99
6.76 oz

Shirakiku Ramune Soda: Yuzu - The Elevated One

What we loved: Unique, very Japanese flavor

Great for: Pairing with sushi.

Shirakiku really outdid themselves with this one. Most of us at the table agreed that the yuzu version of Shirakiku’s ramune series was better than its original lemon-lime flavor and all of its other flavors.

If you’ve never tasted yuzu before, you might struggle to place the flavors of the Shirakiku Ramune Soda: Yuzu. According to a member of our panel who had never had yuzu, the drink “tasted like a cross between lemon and grapefruit.” Most of us who were familiar with the fruit smiled knowingly. Yuzu is a popular Asian fruit used as an ingredient in Japanese sauces, drinks, and dishes. By using it as the base flavor in ramune, Shirakiku has created an elevated soda drink that stands out and pays strong homage to its Japanese roots.

Despite the authentic taste, the carbonated nature of the drink prevents it from being used as a substitute for the yuzu juice used in cooking. So, don’t bother following those intrusive thoughts.

Nevertheless, Shirakiku Ramune Soda: Yuzu is the perfect drink to have on a cool day. Its citrusy flavor combines fantastically with the fizz and sparkle of carbonation to create a refreshing taste that keeps fatigue away.

Among all of the ramune Japanese soda brands we tasted, this particular flavor made the best pairing with sushi. We can attribute that to the extra citrusy kick it offers, which complements the oily sushi. I also received positive feedback from those who tried it with soup and other Asian dishes.

Shirakiku Ramune Soda: Yuzu This is one summery drink you can enjoy year-round! This Ramune soda features a delicious citrusy yuzu flavor that complements the sparkly carbonation perfectly. Simply disassemble the top and pop the marble into the drink to enjoy! Ramune soda is a delightful pairing with sushi, soup, and a wide array of Asian dishes.
$2.99
6.76 oz

Hatasoda Ramune: Peach - The One for Every Day

What we loved: Unique and portable packaging

Great for: Commutes and social gatherings.

Peach-flavored drinks seem to be a favorite among ramune lovers, so I’m happy at least one made our list. I can safely say this is the best peach-flavored ramune on the market, which is interesting because the product lacks one of the core attributes of traditional ramune, the marble. With no marble to seal the top, you don’t have to push down until the marble falls; you can simply open the cap and enjoy your drink.

In fact, the entire packaging of the Hatasoda Ramune: Peach is different from what we’ve come to expect from ramune products. None of the other Hatasoda flavors, including the raspberry, mango, and pineapple variants, have the same packaging. However, I wouldn’t commend the packaging simply for being different. Its shorter top and light weight make it very easy to pack in a bag or suitcase. Hence, it’s more on-the-go than your regular ramune. I can see it as a regular companion for people who commute to work every day.

I also loved the tantalizing taste of the soda. The fruity and sweet flavors of white peach blend with the sparkle and fizz of carbonation to offer a refreshing experience. I tried it on its own and as part of a fruity mocktail. Both times, it did not disappoint, leaving me with a satisfying sensation. The invigorating taste and lack of a rattling sound (no marble) make it an ideal refreshment option for social gatherings. 

Hatasoda Ramune: Peach

Want to skip the struggle of getting the Ramune marble into the bottle? This Ramune soda from Hatasoda offers the Ramune flavor you love without the mess of popping the marble into the bottle. With each refreshing sip, you'll find a juicy peach taste. Pack this in your lunch or drink one whenever you're craving a Japanese soda.

 

$3.49
16.33 oz

Daiei Ramune Soda: Yogurt - The Unexpected One

What we loved: Creamy and tart yogurt taste

Great for: Lovers of ramune and milk-based drinks like Calpico.

Never in a million years would I expect to see a yogurt-flavored ramen soda. So, you can imagine my surprise when I found the Daiei Ramune Soda: Yogurt on my table, waiting to be sampled like the dozens of other ramune products before it.

I know Daiei, the manufacturing company. They never shy away from thinking outside the box with their flavors, having come up with kiwi and green apple ramunes. However, a yogurt-flavored soda drink seemed a bit extreme, even for them. So, I took my first gulp, waiting to be disappointed, but instead, I was pleasantly surprised!

It filled my mouth with a creamy yogurt taste and soda flavor. It was sweet and tart all at once, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. I realized there was no way it wouldn’t make the top 4, but I had to wait for feedback from others who tried it. One of them referred to the drink as “carbonated Calpico.” In case you don’t know what Calpico is, it’s a Japanese non-carbonated drink made mostly with milk-based flavors. Needless to say, I strongly agree with that opinion.

Like most yogurt-based products, Daiei Ramune Soda: Yogurt is best served chilled from the refrigerator. I understand that not everyone will enjoy this product. However, it has undeniable quality and is the perfect drink for anyone who wants some tartness in their sweet soda. 

Daiei Ramune Soda: Yogurt

With this yogurt-flavored soda, you never have to pick between Calpico and Ramune ever again! It features a unique (and delicious) creamy yogurt taste complemented by the soda flavor. It's sweet and tart simultaneously.

Pro Tip: Refrigerate this Ramune soda for at least one hour before drinking it for the best flavor.

$3.49
6.6 oz

Our Research

I did say that I would reveal our entire procedure for ranking the top 4 ramune brands of 2024. Here’s me fulfilling that promise. In this section, I’ll provide a brief background on the Bokksu team and why we’re perfectly positioned to give you the best recommendations. I’ll also reveal exactly how we came up with our top 4 list, followed by some honorable mentions of the ramune products that didn’t make the cut despite their popularity.

Our Qualifications

Bokku Market’s journey with Asian food and drinks began several years before the platform was born. In 2015, founder Danny Taing returned to the US after living in Japan, but he did not come back empty-handed. David came back with a briefcase filled with snacks and treats from Japan. He had fallen in love with them during his time overseas and couldn’t wait to share some with family and friends.

Everyone who had a taste loved them. Unfortunately, there was no way to get more. Most of these snacks were local specialties made in Japan with no overseas distribution network. And so, in 2016, Bokksu Snack Box was born with a mission to merge cultures through Asian food. Bokksu Market was established in 2021 as a one-stop Asian store for authentic food and drinks sourced from countries like Japan, China, and Indonesia.

Every member of Bokksu Market is driven by the company's values: to help people in the US get convenient access to Asian grocery products, including ramune. So, to build my team, I enlisted the help of Bokksu Market QA experts, editors, writers, and content creators. They know the product and they know the consumers. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect team!

Our Process

We tested 27 different ramune brands before finally arriving at the very best. I made sure that every member of our 7-man panel had a go at each ramune brand we considered. We tried each one twice, first on its own and then with a snack or fruit juice pairing. I directed each panelist to score a ramune based on the following criteria:

  • Sweetness

  • Unique taste

  • Bottle packaging

  • Fizzy appearance (from carbonation)

  • Number of possible pairings

After the testing process was complete, I gathered the scores and feedback from all team members and ranked them based on everyone’s opinions, including mine. In the end, 4 ramune products stood out, and I’m confident you would love them just as much as we did, if not more.

Our Disappointments

Many of the 27 ramune brands we tested were fantastic. However, only a few of them really got close to making the top 4 list. Hence, we all had to make tough choices. One of the ramunes that got us seriously conflicted was the Hata Ramune Soda: Pineapple. It only fell short because there was nothing unique about the flavor besides its high quality. Another tough call happened while reviewing Daiei Ramune Soda: Kiwi. This one was pretty unique, but its taste was only outstanding when paired with fruits. 

Why Ramune

A man enjoying a bottle of Japanese ramune soda.

With summer coming up in the United States, we all need a refreshing drink. Ramune is by far the best type of soda to have in your fridge at this time. Besides its ability to rehydrate on hot summer days, ramune is one of the few types of soda that still uses the iconic Codd-neck bottle. Hence, it represents a bridge between old and modern Japanese beverage-drinking cultures. Today, you’ll find ramune in all kinds of exciting flavors.

Ramune Flavor Spectrum

Different flavors of ramune, including grape, strawberry and melon.

Unlike soda with Western roots, Japanese ramune soda offers a limitless variety when it comes to flavors. The original taste remains the lemon-lime flavor. However, there are lots more available, with an emphasis on fruits.

Some of the most popular ramune flavors are melon, peach, pineapple, strawberry, grape, mango, and orange. Less common flavors of ramune include blueberry, raspberry, kiwi, lychee, and yuzu.

The fact remains that there is no limit to what flavors a ramune will contain. Today, ramune manufacturers, like Daiei, recognize this advantage and use it to create unique products. As the market for ramune continues to expand, we can expect more companies to create new bold flavors that contrast the fruity nature of traditional ramune.

Ramune Pairings

To elevate the ramune drinking experience, consider pairing it with other drinks, snacks, or food. One of the best ways to enjoy ramune is to mix it with fruit juice. The best taste comes from pairing both drinks based on their flavors. For example, you should pair a pineapple-flavored ramune with mango juice. Try Moshi Sparkling Juice Drink: Yuzu & White Peach with any ramune flavor of your choice. Ramune also tastes fantastic when paired with rice crackers and other savory snacks. If you prefer something sweet, you may try daifuku mochi. Ramune is also a good drink to pair with traditional Asian soups and Japanese sushi.

The Culmination of the Journey

Bokksu is dedicated to bringing you the best, and I’m confident that the 4 best ramune brands we chose are truly in a class of their own. Feel free to try one of them, or visit Bokksu Market's Ramune Collection for even more great options.

This article is the fourth in a series focusing on the personal exploration and meticulous selection of Asian grocery products, with each piece a narrative of discovery, quality, and unmatched flavor.


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Pop the Marble: 4 Top Ramune Brands of 2024

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