Behind the 19th century soda fountain counter, “baristas” known as Dispensers or Soda Men, knew a tremendous amount about customer service, the making of an ever-growing list of beverages, and the care and use of operating the soda apparatus. While other trained men mixed syrups, compounded recipes for everything from soda water to flavorings to syrups, and cleaned and repaired the machines, this article focuses on the Soda Men and their key role in the success of a Victorian-American Soda Fountain. This post is filled with primary-source recipes, tips for excellent customer service, and instructions to properly pour a soda water or ice cream soda.
Today, June 20th, is National Ice Cream Soda Day! We’re all familiar with Ice Cream Sodas… any flavor ice cream, floating in any flavor soda, right? Yes, unless you’re a Victorian American at the oh, so popular Soda Fountain. The nineteenth century’s Ice Cream Soda just might surprise you!