Sip, Sip Hooray!
America's top fountains shared their recipes, so you can be your own soda jerk. Hop on a swivel stool, grab a straw and a sundae spoon and prepare to have fun -- with a cherry on top!
The Franklin Fountain
This Philadelphia family-run soda shop and ice cream parlor has been at the forefront of the soda fountain revolution since it opened 10 years ago. Brothers Eric and Ryan Berley take their cues from both modern trends (seasonal flavors, house-made sodas) and old- school tradition (the shop is named for founding father Benjamin Franklin). Drinks like the Ladies' Choice, a raspberry soda float with peach ice cream, are inspired by vintage recipe books called "formularies." They harken back to the days when pharmacies housed soda fountains and jerks mixed drinks like malteds (a shake made with malt, a grain-based powder that was once touted as a nutritional supplement) and phosphates (fizzy concoctions with tart phosphoric acid) that were not only delicious, but deemed healthy, too.
Ginger Zinger Floats
Fresh ginger adds a nice zesty bite to these lemony sorbet floats.
Ladies' Choice Floats
Can't find peach ice cream? Mash fresh or canned peaches into softened vanilla ice cream and freeze until firm.
Sound like a jerk! Saying "hit bottom" means add ice cream!
Nearly everything on the menu at this New Orleans soda fountain, from the triple- decker club sandwich to the thick red velvet shake, is based on World War II-era recipes. Chef John Besh opened the spot inside the New Orleans National World War II Museum in 2011, and the treats he serves just might be the most delicious exhibit in town. The recipes reflect not only the era but the city, too, with Southern delights like a bananas Foster malt and pimento cheese sandwiches with country ham. "The soda fountain appeals to the little kid in me," Besh says. "The one that still loves a good shake."
Red Velvet Shakes
You can also use store-bought red velvet cupcakes.
Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain
At this once-neglected Brooklyn pharmacy, now restored to its original 1920s splendor, folks line up for the perfectly frothed egg cream, a soda fountain classic that contains neither eggs nor cream, but milk with flavored syrup and seltzer. Owners Gia Giasullo and Peter Freeman kept the period details, like the apothecary cabinets and noisy antique cash register, but updated the menu with goodies like sundaes studded with everything from pretzels to bacon. "What we didn't realize when we opened is that we weren't starting from scratch -- we were reviving an old place," Giasullo says.
Maple Egg Creams
A pretzel is a classic egg cream garnish.
The Ice Cream Bar and Soda Fountain
Everything at this swanky, Art Deco, San Francisco soda fountain is made in-house -- right down to the cola. The bubbly stuff gets its spicy flavor from a blend of 15 botanicals, including ingredients like kola nut and coca leaf, throwbacks to the days when pharmacists doled out health tonics at the tap. Indeed, when owner Juliet Pries opened this old- school space, she was determined that everything should be as authentic as her 1930s decor. So if you're curious to try a celery-flavored "lactart" -- a soda made with mouth-puckering lactic acid -- this is the place to do it. But if you're craving a more traditional treat, the caramelized banana split, topped with three scoops of ice cream and three kinds of sauce, sure hits the spot.
Bruleed Banana Split
You can use store-bought hot fudge and caramel sauces.