These original phosphate soda recipes are from the 1950s, and earlier. Soda fountain beverages called Phosphates, or Acids, received their unusual name from the acid phosphate that was added to the beverage to enhance its tangy taste and fizz.
Orange, cherry, lemon, lime (called a Green River), grape, vanilla, chocolate, and egg phosphates were the most popular flavor choices, though some fancier phosphate beverages combined several flavors and often a garnish of fruit to attract thirsty buyers. All are deliciously refreshing!
The Dispenser's Formulary or Soda Water Guide (1915)
Many old time soda fountain recipes require making the fruit flavored soda syrups. However, you can simplify any recipe by using store-bought soda syrups instead.
One ounce cherry syrup, 4 dashes of phosphate. Fill glass with carbonated water, using coarse stream; stir well with spoon.
The Orange Phosphate drink was loved for its zesty refreshing flavor, and it's the most requested of all the phosphate soda recipes.
A little orange syrup in a mineral-water glass, a little acid phosphate squirted into it, carbonated water from the coarse stream enough to nearly fill the glass, and cracked ice, or not, as the occasion or the drinker may require, the whole well stirred with a spoon, constitutes this most popular, perhaps, of all orange drinks.
Cherry syrup, 1 ounce; root beer, 4 ounces; phosphate, 2 dashes. Draw syrup in 10-ounce glass and fill half-full with carbonated water, fine stream, then draw in carbonated root beer and add dash of phosphate.
Pineapple syrup, 2 ounces; solution of acid phosphate, 3 dashes. Half fill a soda glass with crushed ice, pour over it the syrup and phosphate, fill with carbonated water, stir and drain into a mineral glass. Price—5 cents.
1/2 ounce strawberry syrup, 1/2 ounce pineapple syrup, 1/2 ounce vanilla syrup, 1/2 ounce orange syrup, 3 dashes acid phosphate, 1/2 glass cracked ice, carbonated water sufficient to fill 12-ounce glass. Stir thoroughly with a spoon. Serve with spoon and straws. Charge 5 cents for 8 ounces.
For this phosphate soda recipe, fill 8- or 9-ounce glass with finely shaved ice, add 3 dashes of solution of acid phosphate and nearly cover the ice with the desired syrup; serve with a spoon.
1 ounce red orange syrup, 1 teaspoonful solution of acid phosphates, 7 ounces plain soda water. Mix the syrup and solution of acid phosphates and draw coarse soda stream till glass is full; stir with spoon. Serve in 8-ounce mineral water glass.
1 ounce pineapple syrup, 1/4 ounce raspberry syrup, 1 dash lemon juice, 2 dashes solution of acid phosphate. Place in an 8-ounce glass and fill with carbonated water. Price—5 cents.
Juice of 1 lime, 1 ounce cherry syrup, 1/2 ounce simple syrup, 1 dash acid phosphate, 1/2 glass shaved ice, sufficient carbonated water. Mix well and top with maraschino cherry. Charge 10 cents.
1 ounce pineapple syrup, 1 ounce red orange syrup, 6 dashes solution of acid phosphate. Put into an 8-ounce soda glass in the order named and fill with carbonated water. Serve "solid" (not stirred). Charge 5 cents for 8 ounces.
Fill an 8- or 9-ounce glass with finely shaved ice, add three dashes of solution of acid phosphate, and then cover the ice with orange syrup or syrup of any desired flavor; serve with spoon. Sells quickly in hot weather for 10 cents.
Raspberry syrup, 3/4 ounce; orange syrup, 3/4 ounce; lemon syrup, 1 ounce; lime syrup, 1/4 ounce; solution of acid phosphate, 1 dash; cracked ice, 1/2 glass.
Mix in a 10-ounce glass and decorate with slices of orange and pineapple, and a maraschino cherry. Serve with spoon and straws.
Place in a 10-ounce glass: orange syrup, 2 ounces; grape juice, 1 ounce; acid phosphate, 3 dashes; a little fine ice. Shake, fill with carbonated water, and strain. Price—10 cents.
Orange syrup, 1/2 ounce; ginger ale, 1/2 ounce; grape syrup, 1/2 ounce; pineapple syrup, 1/2 ounce; acid phosphate, 2 dashes; fresh mint leaves, 4; shaved ice, 1/2 glass.
Press the mint to the sides of the glass, then add coarse stream carbonated water to fill the glass. Stir and serve with straws. Decorate with fresh mint. Price—10 ounces, 10 cents.
2 fluid ounces raspberry syrup, 1 dash solution of acid phosphate, juice of one-half lemon, 2 ounces shaved ice, 8 fluid ounces water. Mix well by agitating in a shaker; strain and add enough carbonated water to fill a 12-ounce glass. Charge 10 cents.
The following phosphate soda recipes call for raw, uncooked eggs or egg whites. Vintage Egg Phosphates are delicious!
To avoid any health risk, please visit my Eggs and Salmonella page for simple instructions on how to safely use raw eggs.
Into a mixing glass add 1-1/2 ounces orange syrup and 1-1/2 ounces lemon syrup, break one egg, and add acid phosphate to customer’s taste. Add shave ice, shake well, fill with fine stream [carbonated water] and serve in bell glass.
This formula is recommended for the preparation of egg phosphate. Add one ounce plain water before shaking. Price—12 ounces, 10 cents.
One egg, one ounce lemon syrup, one-half ounce red raspberry syrup, four dashes of acid phosphate, shaved ice. Shake thoroughly, then fill the mixing glass nearly full with coarse stream, then fizz (the addition of carbonated soda water).
This vintage phosphate soda recipe makes a very light, foamy acid drink that should be poured back and forth two or three times in order not to have it all foam.
By leaving out the phosphate and adding four ounces of milk and two ounces ice cream, you have another delicious egg drink but NOT an egg phosphate. Price—First formula, 10 cents; second formula, 15 cents. (A. G. Knights)
One egg, 1-1/2 ounces lemon syrup, 1-1/2 ounces orange syrup, 6 dashes phosphate, 2 pieces of ice. Shake it well. Strain and serve with nutmeg.
Into a suitable glass put 1 ounce syrup of raspberry, then break one egg. Next add 2 ounces of sweet cream, 1/4 glassful shaved ice, and a few dashes of solution of acid phosphate.
Fill the glass with carbonated water, coarse stream, and then pour all into another glass, repeating the operation, until a foaming drink is produced. Sells for 10 cents. —Bert Taylor
1 egg white, 1 ounce lemon syrup, 1 ounce pineapple syrup, 3 dashes phosphate. Price—10 cents. —F. X. Sullivan
Put the yolk of two eggs in a 14-ounce glass, add two ounces of orangeade syrup, two dashes of port wine and two of acid phosphate.
Then add one 16-to-the-quart dipper of vanilla ice cream and fill with cracked ice. Carbonate with the fine stream [carbonated water]. Charge 15 cents. —E. J. Howard
Half fill mixing glass with shaved ice, crush 2 large sprays of mint on the ice, and add 1-1/2 ounces blood orange syrup, 2 dashes of solution of acid phosphate, 1 egg, and shake well and strain.
Add carbonated water, fine stream, toss several times, grate nutmeg on top, and serve with straws. Charge 10 cents.
To make genuine phosphate sodas using the old fashioned phosphate soda recipes, you will need a bottle of "acid phosphate."
Acid phosphate is NOT the same as phosphoric acid. It's a phosphoric acid that's buffered by specific mineral salts to help it maintain the proper level of acidity.
DO NOT substitute phosphoric acid, as it can be extremely dangerous to your health.
However, if you are at all impatient to experience a phosphate-like taste, you can easily do so by adding a "pinch of citric acid" when the old fashioned phosphate soda recipes call for a dash of acid phosphate.
A "dash" consisted of just a few drops of the acid dispensed by the soda jerk from a glass shaker bottle kept handy.
An orange or cherry phosphate will taste just fine using citric acid. Actually, some of the old fashioned pharmacies used citric acid exclusively in their fountain beverages.
You can purchase food-grade citric acid at most drug stores and some grocery stores, where it's often kept with the jelly and jam making supplies.
Carbonated Water (soda water) can be found for sale in the soft drink section of most food and convenience stores.
Genuine Acid Phosphate is near impossible to find locally, but there's one online source that I highly recommend. The Prairie Moon Company sells a high-quality Acid Phosphate solution at an affordable price.
Torani Soda Syrups can be found for sale at Amazon in dozens of delicious flavors ranging from Classic Root Beer to Watermelon.
If you purchase a product through a link on this page, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I recommend only products I have purchased or would purchase myself, products I think you would like. See my FTC compliance policy for more information.
There was a popular saying among the old time soda fountain operators, "Drinks may come and drinks may go but the Orange Phosphate goes on forever."
Sadly, it didn't go on forever nor did the equally delicious cherry or grape phosphates, but the popularity of these unique sodas did last into the 1950s, until a greater variety of soft drinks came on the market, and traditional soda fountains went into a steady decline.
Get a bottle of Acid Phosphate and a selection of your favorite fountain syrup flavors and have fun trying the phosphate soda recipes. Relive the days of the village soda fountain!
You might have heard that health experts are trying to convince beverage bottlers to stop using phosphoric acid in their soda recipes since heavy consumption of soft drinks containing it may lead to lower calcium levels in the body and increase your chances of osteoporosis.
That's because phosphate in the bloodstream tends to leach calcium from bone tissue.
Phosphoric acid is still widely used as a significant ingredient in most colas, root beers, and other dark-colored commercial soft drinks whereas most light-colored soft drinks use citric acid instead. You can find out which acid is used by reading the list of ingredients on the beverage container.
For health reasons, some people are now avoiding bottled soft drinks that contain phosphoric acids, choosing those that use citric acid instead. For instance, A&W Root Beer® is one brand that uses citric acid.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, or if you’re a pregnant mother, you should play it safe and avoid consuming phosphates.
Simply substitute a pinch of citric acid for the acid phosphate in phosphate soda recipes, and they'll taste just fine. Remember, moderation in all things, even when it comes to phosphate sodas!