The Ladies' Tea Guild

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another fun summer beverage: homemade Cream Soda!

image from ClipArtETC. Soda water fountain.
With Memorial Day being the unofficial start of summer (according to the calendar, summer will begin on June 21), I thought that another cool drink recipe would be acceptable. Did you know that soda is a Victorian beverage? I found a recipe for Soda Powders in a household manual from 1858, and a recipe for Cream Soda in Godey's Lady's Book from 1865, which mentions a soda fountain! I knew that soda fountains were around by the 1890s but I didn't know that they were available in the 1860s. Here is the older recipe; I guess you're supposed to add your own flavoring and sugar:

Soda Water Powders.—A pleasant, cooling, summer drink. The blue paper contains carbonate of soda, thirty grains; the white paper tartaric acid, twenty-five grains.
Directions.—Dissolve the contents of the blue paper in half a tumbler of water, stir in the other powder, and drink during effervescence. Soda powders furnish a saline beverage, which is very slightly laxative, and well calculated to allay the thirst in hot weather. One pound of carbonate of soda, and thirteen ounces and a half of tartaric acid, supply the materials for 256 powders of each sort.

This one is from 1865:

Cream Soda -- an excellent Drink.
Five pounds of loaf sugar, one ounce cream of tartar, one ounce Epsom salts, five ounces tartaric acid. Dissolve all the ingredients in one gallon of water, and heat it till it boils; and skim, if necessary. When cool, put the syrup in bottles, and set in a cool place. To prepare the drink, put two or three tablespoonsful of the syrup into a tumbler two-thirds full of water; add one-fourth of a teaspoonful of super carbonate of soda; stir briskly, and the effervescence will be equal to any soda from the fount.

I don't know that I would try to make this recipe and actually drink it, but it's interesting to see that Cream Soda doesn't contain any cream -- at least in this rendering! I think I saw a recipe for Cream Soda that actually contained cream. I'll see if I can find it. Personally, I'd just buy a favorite brand of cream soda! A&W is one of my family's favorite brands, but Stewart's also makes a good cream soda. Pour it over ice and enjoy!

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)