The cream soda is a drink with a muddled history, and countless variations around the world. Early recipes contained egg whites, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and lemon oil to create fizz and mimic the flavours of cream. Real dairy cream was a welcome ingredient, but was used sparingly due to the lack of refrigeration techniques and pasteurisation at the time. Soda fountain purveyors of the mid-18th century had to be creative, from using the aforementioned cream-like ingredients, down to using “dirty pond ice” to indirectly chill cream to use in the beverage. These days, cream soda is made with carbonated water, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, artificial flavours, and colouring. Today’s recipe however, is more an homage to the cream sodas of old, infused with a variation that is befitting of The Morning Journal. Ladies and gents, we present to you, the old-fashioned Coffee Cream Soda.
- 100g of refined sugar
- 100g warm water
- 5g vanilla extract
- 5g cream of tartar
Dissolve the sugar in warm water, stirring constantly until the crystals disappear. Stir in the vanilla extract. We’ve had good results with imitation vanilla essence, but feel free to splurge on a real extract or paste. Finally, carefully add the cream of tartar and continue stirring. The cream of tartar adds a bit of zing to the syrup, as well as a creamy mouthfeel that you’ll appreciate in the finished drink. This batch makes four sodas to share with friends, and will keep in the fridge for about a week.
Coffee Cream Soda:
- 60g or ml espresso (brewed from 2 capsules, around 30g or ml each)
- 50g Cream Syrup
- 150ml soda water (canned or bottled is fine)
- 1 scoop of your favourite vanilla ice cream
For starters, we’re serving it the old-timey way today, so no ice cubes! This means chilled ingredients are a must. Keep your cream syrup and soda water properly chilled, and your ice cream, frozen. Pull your espresso ahead of time, allowing the shots to cool down.
In a pre-chilled 16oz tumbler or milkshake glass, slowly pour the first 100ml of soda water. Gently stir in the cream syrup and espresso. You should still have two inches of space from the rim of the glass. Carefully float the ice cream, and top with the remaining soda water to create a nice frothy layer on top. Stick a straw in for maximum sipping enjoyment!
The transparency of the cream soda mixture allows the coffee to shine, so feel free to experiment with your capsules. Using the recommended coffee made the drink taste like melted butter pecan ice cream. Fun!
Recommended Capsule: Butter Pecan Cookies by Yardstick Coffee
Words & Photos by Jonathan Choi (@theheadbean)