Our great grandparents enjoyed a treat that's a rarity today - an old fashioned fountain soda.These were amazing concoctions all made before the birth of Coca Cola and Pepsi. Everything but the kitchen sink went into these lavish hot weather treats. Ingredients were fresh made and full of foamy goodness. Will those days ever come back? Yes thanks to a few dedicated purists..
This was the subject of an article in today's New York Times Dining section. The great Julia Moskin wrote the well researched piece that took her to old fashioned soda fountains. Before the birth of Coke in the 1890s soda, including colas were mixed in pharmacies across the country. After the drink's invention sodas weren't that special anymore and a once a week treat like ice cream sodas could be made at home. Thanks to a few dedicated soda jerks that world is coming back. The name jerk come from the jerking motion of pulling the soda taps and the modern ones are just as proud of the title as their 1890s counterparts were.
During the golden era of home made soda, the egg cream reigned king. This was and still is an amazing concoction that involves cream, chocolate and seltzer. The original recipe is making a comeback as is a strawberry egg cream made with fresh Long Island strawberries. Other creations are calling for fresh huckleberries and locally grown hazelnuts. Fresh milk from Hudson Valley dairies is also used giving the drinks a purer flavor. Artesanal seltzers are also being used. Before carbonation, pharmacists used water mixed with potassium, calcium and magnesium to give it fizz (this water was also made for medicinal purposes as well). Homemade sodas are also made, using the same ingredients as 19th century jerks used.
Nothing beats an ice cream soda on a hot summer's day. Even better is when it's made the old fashioned way with homemade seltzer and fresh ingredients. If there is a true soda fountain in your neighborhood visit it. Enjoy the purity of a real 19th century treat!