Hires Root Beer, from its debut in the mid-1870s, was sold as a refreshing beverage (with no medicinal expectations). The name, chosen by Charles H. Hires, to appeal to tough coal miners, who’d never find “root tea” attractive, ended up causing Hires Co. a bit of trouble with Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Who knew that “beer” in a name, and the common knowledge that root beer extract was percolated with alcohol (though the finished drink had no more than a whole loaf of homemade bread), to cause banning of the beverage?
We know original Coca-Cola (debuted 1886) did have cocaine in it–and not “a trivial amount”. The product began as a replacement for coca wine (just what it sounds like), when temperance laws outlaws alcohol, and Pemberton needed a replacement vector for his coca leaves. Looking back at vintage sources, it’s easy to see when cocaine was removed from Coca-Cola, and how the owners ensured their not-yet-trademarked product remained protected. Numerous credible scientists analyzed the syrup (from various retail locations), swearing to Coca-Cola’s freedom from cocaine, but the attacks didn’t stop overnight. Decades later, Coca-Cola maintained its status as a substance-free “refreshing drink”, a 180Â° switch from its Patent Medicine beginning.
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.