Except for tea and coffee, passengers paid for bottled water and soft drinks, just as they paid for wine, spirits, and beer. For wine, the steward tallied up what the passenger owed, and he paid before leaving the ship. For beers, soft drinks, and bottled water, the passenger paid out of pocket when he ordered. Part of this practice continues today in the cruise ship industry, where aside from coffee, tea, and tap water, all other drinks are charged to the passenger on most ships.
For sixpence, a passenger could order a bottle of soda water, ginger ale, lemonade, English seltzer, kali potass, or sarsaparilla. For one shilling, Congress water and German seltzer were on offer.
Take ginger ale. When I was a child and our family traveled by plane, my mother always ordered me a ginger ale. The drink was special, given to me only on such trips or on rare occasions when I was sick with the stomach flu. Passengers aboard a Cunard ship sipped ginger ale for the same reason: ginger was considered an excellent cure for seasickness, motion sickness, or upset stomachs.
Here's a recipe I developed for homemade lemonade. It might have been similar to what Cunard offered its passengers:
Equipment: 1 half-gallon glass jug
Ingredients: 3 lemons, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 t. instant yeast, filtered room-temperature water
Method: Juice the lemons and strain the juice into a jug. If you wish for your lemonade to be more tart, add more lemon juice. Do not use bottled. Add the white sugar and 1/4 t. yeast and filtered water. Screw the cap on the jug and shake gently to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Put it in a cool, dark place for 24 hours. Gently shake the contents to stir it around. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Be careful when you take of the lid!