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A glass of cola served with ice cubes
Soft drink vending machine in Japan

A soft drink (see § Terminology for other names) is a drink that usually contains carbonated water (although some vitamin waters and lemonades are not carbonated), a sweetener, and a natural or artificial flavoring. The sweetener may be a sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, a sugar substitute (in the case of diet drinks), or some combination of these. Soft drinks may also contain caffeine, colorings, preservatives, and/or other ingredients.

Soft drinks are called "soft" in contrast with "hard" alcoholic drinks. Small amounts of alcohol may be present in a soft drink, but the alcohol content must be less than 0.5% of the total volume of the drink in many countries and localities[1][2] if the drink is to be considered non-alcoholic.[3] Fruit punch, tea (even kombucha), and other such non-alcoholic drinks are technically soft drinks by this definition, but are not generally referred to as such. Unsweetened sparkling water may be consumed as an alternative to soft drinks.

Soft drinks may be served chilled, over ice cubes, or at room temperature, especially soda. They are available in many container formats, including cans, glass bottles, and plastic bottles. Containers come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small bottles to large multi-liter containers. Soft drinks are widely available at fast food restaurants, movie theaters, convenience stores, casual-dining restaurants, dedicated soda stores,