Ice Cream Sundae History

Ice cream sundae history is associated with Victorian scandal and unbridled creativity on the part of enterprising soda parlor operators who gave the world one of the most desired and enjoyed ice cream treats of all time. Continue reading the amazing story.

Brief Ice Cream Sundae History

Vintage Photo of College Girls Seated In an Ice Cream ParlorCollege Girls With Ice Cream Parlor Sundaes
(Source: ©everett225/

It was in 1881 while visiting an ice cream parlor in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, that a teenager named George Hallauer is credited with inventing the original classic ice cream sundae recipe.

It's said that Hallauer spontaneously asked the fountain operator, Ed Berner, to drizzle chocolate syrup over his dish of plain ice cream. However, there are other credible sources that indicate the sundae wasn't invented until some time later, in the 1890s.

Drinking soda water was considered improper and scandalous by some Victorians and various Midwest towns even passed laws preventing its sale on Sundays. The so-called "soda suckers" were even vilified in church sermons and in the popular press at the time.

Wanting a solution, a clever pharmacist in Evanston, Indiana created an alternative taste treat to sell on Sundays that contained fountain syrup and ice cream but no soda water.

Meanwhile, over in Wisconsin, George Giffy, and other soda fountain owners also began to sell what were deemed legal ice cream sodas — that is, sodas without the soda — on Sundays, offering the customer a choice of ice cream and flavoring syrups for only 5 cents.

The new ice cream and fountain syrup combination became quite popular, and people began calling it a Sunday Soda or simply a "Sunday."

They were only sold on Sundays at the beginning, but soon people began to ask for them on other days of the week too. Eventually, the spelling was changed from Sunday to "Sundae" out of respect for the Lord's Day and to make the treat popular during the rest of the week.

It was around this time also that the ice cream sandwich and the ice cream float appeared, but no one really knows the exact dates or who it was that invented them.

Many soda fountain ice cream treats, and the original ice cream parlor sundae recipes were developed spontaneously as customers demanded combinations of their favorite dessert ingredients.

Now, you can enjoy making a classic ice cream sundae recipe anytime you crave one.

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