Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Victorian treats - Ice Cream Sodas and Sundaes

This is a sort of part two to my ealrier post on the history of soda pop. I wanted to include this in my first post, but in doing the research, realized that it really deserved it's own article.

Ice cream sodas, or ice cream floats, as they are also called, were invented in the 1870s. Though there is dispute about the actual year and who invented it, the most famous story is of Robert Green, who had a soda stand for the sesquicentennial celebrations, in Philadelphia PA. It was a hot July day and he ran out of ice to keep his sodas cold. In desperation, he used a scoop of ice cream in his drinks, and the result was a hit! Robert Green was so proud of his idea, he had "Originator of the Ice Cream Soda" engraved on his gravestone. It didn't take long for this new concoction to catch on, and it soon became popular, especially with kids and young people.

There were adults who liked the drink to, but many looked down on ice cream sodas as something for kids. In some parts of the United States, especially more conservative areas, ice cream sodas were seen as decadent and intemperate. There were even some who believed soft drinks, including ice cream sodas, should be regulated like liquor, especially as soda water was seeen as a medicine of sorts. As such, during the 1880s and 90s, many states passed "blue laws" to regulate ice cream sodas and all soft drinks, thus the sale of these drinks were banned from being sold on Sundays and holy days.

Drugstores rellied on the soda fountain for a good portion of their profits, and as ice cream sodas were popular with the younger set, they had to come up with a way to get some of that lucrative business on Sunday. Since soda was not allowed to be served, they came up with a new treat involving ice cream and flavoured syrup, minus the offending soda, just for Sundays. As to not offend religious leaders, they changed the spelling of the traet's name to "sundae".

Some variations of ice cream sodas include
Coke float or Spider(new zealand, australia) - vanilla ice cream and cola
Chocolate soda - vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and unflavoured soda water
Root beer float - vanilla ice cream and root beer
Brown cow - chocolate ice cream and root beer
Boston cooler - vanilla ice cream and ginger ale
Snow White - vanilla ice cream and 7Up or Sprite
Purple Cow - vanilla ice cream and grape soda
Creamsicle - vanilla ice cream and orange soda

I'm not sure what kind of ice cream soda this is, but I enjoy it's acid green color.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. That's a pretty cool history (no pun intended!). Not sure I could get into the idea of the Brown Cow... Chocolate and root beer don't sound like such a great combination to me! :) I could definitely go for the Chocolate Soda though!

  2. Ooooh I really want to try the Boston Cream. Just for historical purposes, you understand! I'm not as intemperate as all that.

  3. Great post. The bit at the end made me laugh :)

  4. Ice cream sodas banned on Sundays and holy days? Now I want one more than ever – I can be a bad boy and enjoy creamy, soda-y goodness! Thanks for another fun blog Lou :)

  5. what a sweet post, I had no idea victorians considered soda "intemperate" that's kind of hilarious, although some parts of our society are also leaning in that direction now