Ice Cream Soda Recipes

Homemade Ice Cream SodaDelicious Ice Cream Soda (Source: ©iStock/liveslow)

The old fashioned ice cream soda recipes are easy to make, and you don't need any special equipment. However, there is a technique in their making and I'll reveal the secret step by step so you can make this traditional soda fountain treat.

An ice cream float recipe is also easy to make. Both fountain drinks draw from the days of the old time ice cream parlor and will taste wonderful every time you make them.

How to Make an Ice Cream Soda

© by Don Bell


Did you know that Lou Costello of the classic Abbott and Costello comedy duo really loved his ice cream sodas?

On March 3, 1959, his dying words were: "That was the best ice cream soda I ever tasted."

The standard old fashioned ice cream soda recipe called for a delicious combination of ice cream, fountain syrup flavoring, and soda water to make a beverage that's widely appealing.

Here's my easy step-by-step method for making an authentic ice cream soda. It's based on the original pharmacy soda fountain method once used by soda jerks.

Use it to make an old fashioned ice cream soda the same as your great grandparents once enjoyed. Simply follow the easy steps below.

  1. Put two to four tablespoonfuls of flavored fountain syrup into a tall, frosty soda glass.

  2. Carefully drizzle the flavored syrup down around the sides of the glass and then slowly fill the glass with chilled soda water to about 2 inches or so beneath its rim.

  3. Now add a large, round scoop of frozen vanilla ice cream so that it carefully rests directly on the rim of the glass allowing the ice cream and soda water to foam beneath.

    The ice cream must be positioned on the glass just right: If it's resting too deep in the soda water the foam will overflow the glass; if it's situated too high on the rim there won't be enough foam produced to call it a true soda. With a bit of practice, you'll get it perfect.

  4. Insert a drinking straw and a long-handled spoon between the ice cream and the rim of the glass and top the beverage off with a garnish of whipped cream and a big red maraschino cherry.

Experiment by combining different fountain syrups and your favorite ice cream flavors. Or, use the old fashioned ice cream soda recipes below. There are infinite possibilities — all are delicious!

Plain soda water is available for sale in the beverage section at most food or convenience stores. But instead of soda water and fountain syrup, you may substitute your favorite flavor of homemade soda pop.

Purists will cringe at the thought of substituting soda pop saying, "It's not a genuine ice cream soda without the soda water," but it still tastes great.

Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda Recipes

The Dispenser's Formulary or Soda Water Guide (1915)

Ice Cream SodaMake a Classic Ice Cream Soda Using Authentic Recipes
(Source: ©everett225/

These old fashioned ice cream soda recipes produce what's called a "glorified soda" — that is, they are similar to the standard ice cream sodas in method of mixing and serving, but by the expert combination of flavors employed, they enter the extra-fancy class of beverage.

Chocolate Noir

2 ounces chocolate syrup, 1/2 glass plain milk, 3 spoonfuls ice cream. Mix in 12-ounce glass, fill with carbonated water, and serve with a spoon. Price, 10 cents.

Chocolate Mint

2 ounces chocolate syrup, scoopful of ice cream, sprig of mint. Crush the mint against the side of glass, add ice cream, and fill glass with carbonated water. Price, 10 cents.

Frosted Chocolate

Place 2 ounces of chocolate syrup and 2 ounces of cream in a glass, and half fill with carbonated water. Add 1 ounce of vanilla ice cream, then fill the glass with carbonated water. Top off with whipped cream. Sells for 15 cents.


Take a small amount of each fruit in season, cut very fine into a dish, adding enough simple syrup to cover, and let stand for several hours.

In serving put 2 tablespoonfuls of the mixture into a 12-ounce glass, add ice cream and carbonated water as in other crushed fruit drinks. Price 10 cents.


1 fluid ounce strawberry syrup, 1 fluid ounce vanilla syrup, 1 spoonful ice cream. Place ice cream in a 12-ounce glass, add the syrups and fill with carbonated water.

New York Beauty

1 ounce strawberry syrup, 1 ounce plain syrup, 1-1/2 ounces ice cream. Mix in 12-ounce glass and fill with carbonated water, fine stream.

Strawberry Soda Deluxe

Mix 2 ounces of fresh strawberries with an equal weight of powdered sugar and allow to stand all night; in the morning crush the fruit, and use with a scoopful of ice cream in a large soda glass.

Now take an egg, and whip it using an egg beater to a foamy froth, which add to the fruit and cream mixture, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Top with whipped cream.

The author classes this beverage with the "sodas." Made up in larger quantities than called for in this formula, a better flavor may be produced. Sells for 20 cents.

Grape Gurgle

Into a suitable glass place one scoopful of ice cream, 1 ounce of grape syrup, and enough chipped ice; mix thoroughly, strain into a 12-ounce glass and fill with carbonated water, fine stream. Sprinkle with powdered nutmeg or cinnamon.

Ladies' Choice

2 ounces raspberry syrup, 2 ounces sweet cream, 2 spoonfuls peach ice cream. Serve with 12-ounce glass like any soda drink with coarse and fine streams of carbonated water to fill glass. Charge 10 cents.

About Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda Recipes

The world's first ice cream soda came about by accident at the Philadelphia Exposition in October of 1874. It was there that Robert M. Green invented the now familiar ice cream soda.

It had become the common practice for pharmacists of that day to add an ounce or two of fountain syrup — vanilla was the favorite flavor — and a tablespoonful of thick, sweet cream to soda water. The "cream soda" as it was called was very well liked by soda fountain regulars.

The story goes that one day Mr. Green ran out of fresh cream and purchased some vanilla ice cream from a nearby ice cream vendor. He planned to let it melt and use it as cream, but he became so busy that he added a big spoonful of the frozen ice cream to his customer's cream soda instead.

It was an instant hit! Word spread and the frosty, refreshing beverage that he created proved to be so wanted that his profits were said to have risen from $6 to $600 in a single day! A princely sum in 1874.

The popularity of the ice cream soda spread quickly and soon pharmacies and trendy soda fountains across the land began duplicating Green's ice cream soda recipe and offering the novel frosty sodas to their thirsty customers. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Supplies for Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda Recipes

Soda Jerk Serving Ice Cream Soda

For making perfect ice cream sodas, I recommend using flavored fountain syrups from The Prairie Moon Company (see below). They can supply both modern and traditional ice cream parlor flavors.

Or, you can make your own flavoring syrups using the original soda fountain recipes.

The Prairie Moon Company can also supply vintage glassware, fluted soda glasses, long-handled spoons, and straws for serving. Everything you need to set up your own ice cream parlor and impress your friends.

Affordable Soda Fountain Syrups

Selection of Soda Fountain SuppliesPrairie Moon Has Everything You Need

Make your beverages with  flavored syrup concentrates from The Prairie Moon Company. Choose from over 50 old fashioned soft drink flavors including Root Beer, Sarsaparilla, and Cola. Simply add water and your own sugar or sweetener.

Prairie Moon offers low cost shipping to U.S. and Canadian customers. I highly recommend them!

Disclosure: This is an affiliate link, which means that if you purchase a Prairie Moon product through this link, I receive a small compensation to help support this site — at no extra cost to you.

Related Pages You May Like

Sharing Is Caring Icon

Like This Page? Please Share It

Old Fashioned Cookbook and Rose