How to Make an Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Soda #IceCreamWeek

Ice Cream Week is sending me on a wonderful trip down Memory Lane. On Tuesday, I updated ice cream sandwiches. Today, Day #4 of our 99 ways to make ice cream, I’m all about another of my frosty favorites, the ice cream soda.

Before we get too far into the story, just a quick reminder - the #IceCreamWeek giveaway is still on (with many thanks to our wonderful sponsors) and all of my blogging pals have got other great recipes and ways to use ice cream, so be sure to check those details at the end of this post. Now back to our regularly scheduled program, as they used to say on TV, in the days before Netflix, streaming, binge-watching, and tablets.

When I was a kid, at the local ice cream parlor, as everyone else ordered banana splits or hot fudge sundaes, my choice was always an ice cream soda. I watched with glee as the soda bubbled away and the ice cream melted just enough to sweeten the soda. Once the soda was almost gone, I would look around to see if anyone noticed when I made that terrible slurping sound with the straw that parents everywhere cringe at – and to this day, I can’t resist making, even in polite company.

ice cream soda

It’s easy to make ice cream sodas at home and the variations are endless.

How to Make an Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda


ice cream soda incgredients
  • 2-3 tablespoons of syrup at the bottom of a tall glass,
  • A few ounces of milk (optional to some, but essential in my book),
  • Several splashes of seltzer
  • A scoop or 2 of ice cream
  • If you want to get fancy, you can add a dollop of whipped cream, and a garnish, such as a cherry or sprinkles.


  • A tall glass,
  • A long spoon  
  • A straw or two
  • A scoop for the ice cream


  • Drizzle syrup on the bottom of the tall glass, follow with the milk and seltzer (maybe mix them if you’re so inclined), then add ice cream and top with a bit more seltzer.
  • Stir and slurp.

What is the Difference Between an Ice Cream Soda and an Ice Cream Float? If the drink is made with seltzer or soda water and flavored syrup then it is an ice cream soda, but if the soda is root beer, cola, or another flavored soda, then it’s an ice cream float in my book.

When Were Ice Cream Sodas Invented? Ice cream sodas were invented at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Robert Green, a clerk in a drug store, was dispensing soda from a fountain for visitors as part of a soda fountain “attraction” when he decided to mix in some ice cream from a neighboring stand.  Voilá – the first ice cream soda! Of course, you might ask, if it used soda isn’t that an ice cream float? Fountain soda is made from syrup and seltzer dispensed from two different nozzles on the same fountain machine so in those days a float and an ice cream soda were made essentially the same way.

Is there a “classic” ice cream soda? If you’re from New York, the answer is yes, definitely – the syrup has to be Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup (with seltzer making a chocolate soda) and the ice cream vanilla or chocolate. The topping would be whipped cream and maraschino cherry. (Love that red dye #2!) These days, I’d rather use “real chocolate syrup or ganache, like this version, or play around with other flavors such as ginger simple syrup with ginger or chocolate ice cream or a homemade fruit syrup with one of the incredible ice cream flavors from my #IceCreamWeek pals. However you like your ice cream soda, enjoy it and don’t be shy about removing the straw to lick the bottom!

ice cream soda

Here is the scoop (pardon the pun) on how Ice Cream Week 2014 works:

This event is hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of  The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen. We (Kim, Susan and the team of 25 participating bloggers) will bring you ice cream treats all week long. We hope you have as much fun as we have had making all these incredible ice cream treats. Break out those stretchy pants and celebrate Ice Cream Week with us. Today is Day #4. We also have a special guest blogger with us, Lindsay Clendaniel, who wrote Scoop Adventures, one of the many prizes in the giveaway. She contributed Peach Pit Swirl Ice Cream yesterday, and she's doing Blackberry Peach Ice Cream tomorrow, on her site, Scoop Adventures.

Our sponsors for the event have provided us with some great prizes. A huge thanks to Cake BossAnolonMicroplaneWÜSTHOFPage Street Publishing and Quarry SpoonKim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen have tossed in a bonus prize of a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker because they think everyone should own one! The entry form is at the bottom of this post.

Here's what is up for grabs in the giveaway, which ends at midnight, August 31st. One Winner Takes All. (Giveaway open to residents of U.S. and Canada): 

Make sure you swing by for a scoop from each of today's Ice Cream Week Participants:

No Churn Low Carb Mint Ice Cream by Yours and Mine are Ours

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