History and development
A recipe for cream soda—written by E.M. Sheldon and published in Michigan Farmer in 1852—called for water, cream of tartar, Epsom salts, sugar, tartaric acid, egg, and milk, to be mixed, then heated, and when cool mixed with water and a quarter teaspoonful of soda (sodium bicarbonate) to make an effervescent drink.
Alexander C. Howell, of Vienna, New Jersey, was granted a patent for "cream soda-water" on June 27, 1865. Howell's cream soda-water was made with sodium bicarbonate, water, sugar, egg whites, wheat flour, and "any of the usual flavoring materials—such as oil of lemon, &c, extracts of vanilla, pine-apple, &c., to suit the taste"; before drinking, the cream soda water was mixed with water and an acid such as tartaric acid or citric acid. In Canada, James William Black of Berwick, Nova Scotia was granted a U.S. patent on December 8, 1885, and a Canadian patent on July 5, 1886, for "ice-cream soda". Black's ice-cream soda, which contained whipped egg whites, sugar, lime juice, lemons, citric acid, flavoring, and bicarbonate of soda, was a concentrated syrup that could be reconstituted into an effervescent beverage by adding ordinary ice water.
North and South America
In the United States, cream soda is often vanilla-flavored and is either clear or colored a light golden brown in appearance; but red, pink, orange and blue are also relatively common color variants. In addition, in some places in the U.S. where the drink is made on location, especially in cafes, cream soda consists of soda water, vanilla syrup, and cream or half and half.
Popular brands include:
- A-Treat Cream Soda
- A&W Vanilla Cream Soda (contains caffeine)
- Barq's Red Creme Soda
- Big Red
- Blue Sky
- Boylan's Creme Vanilla
- Big Shot Cream Soda (New Orleans area)
- Briar's Premium Cream Soda
- Canfield's Swiss Creme (mainly in the Chicago area)
- Dad's Cream Soda
- Dr. Brown's (mainly in the New York City area, but also kosher delicatessens across the country)
- Faygo (mainly in Michigan and surrounding states, but also urban eateries across the country, e.g. Ezells)
- Fletcher Street Brewing Company's Cream Soda (mainly in Michigan)
- Foxon Park (mainly in Connecticut)
- Hosmer Mountain (mainly in Connecticut)
- Henry Weinhard's Cream Soda
- Jones Soda
- Jelly Belly French Vanilla Cream Soda
- Millstream Old-Time Cream Soda
- Mug Cream Soda
- Polar Beverages Cream Soda
- Route 66 Sodas Cream Soda (New Route 66 Flavor)
- Shasta Creme Soda
- SodaStream Cream Soda Syrup
- Vess (Old St. Louis variety that is a deep pink)
- Virgil's Cream Soda
- White Rock Beverages
In Canada, cream soda is mostly red and tastes like grenadine. Some brands, such as Fanta, market a colorless version. Ohio-based grocery chain Kroger also sells their own brand of red cream soda in the US.
- Cott Cream Soda
- Crush (Canada only)
- Deepak Jamaican Style Cream Soda
- Grace Cream Soda – "Genuine Caribbean taste"
- Jones Soda
- Kiri Cream Soda – colourless
- Life Brand
- Mr. Goudas Snappy Pop Cream Soda
- The Pop Shoppe
- Walmart Canada – US-style vanilla flavor
- Dad's Cream Soda (pink - not the same as US variety)
Some American brands are available in Canada as imports.
Caribbean and Latin America
Cream soda is usually served as a "red pop", particularly Fanta's Red Cream Soda.
- Colombiana (Colombia) - orange in color
- Crema Soda (El Salvador)
- DG Sof Drink Cream Soda (Jamaica)
- Frescolita (Venezuela) - a bubble gum flavored soda
- Kolashampan (El Salvador)  - orange in color
- Prisco Mundet (Mexico) – red, generally only available in the Mexico City area
- Séjourné Cream Soda (Haiti) – made from cocoa creme[clarification needed]
- Solo Beverage Company (Trinidad)
- ToniCol (Mexico) – a naturally-flavored vanilla soda
In Australia, cream soda is generally known as creaming soda or creamy soda by current manufacturers and is generally pink, red or brown. Less commonly, there is a bright yellow type of creamy soda, an example of which is produced by Crows Nest Soft Drinks, or Hartz. Manufacturers of creamy soda in Australia include Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Kirks, River Port, Schweppes and Tarax. As of 2005, Kirks creamy soda is made and distributed by Coca Cola. Up until the mid-1990s, Kirks also produced Snow Cap, which was essentially the vanilla flavored brown version of the drink. The name "Snow Cap" was created to differentiate the pink and brown versions of the drink. While Snow Cap is no longer produced, Kirks do produce a product called 'Sno-Drop'. Schweppes Australia markets Creamy Soda as part of their 'Schweppes Traditional' line of soft drinks. Until recently it was deep red in all states except Victoria where it was brown, but now both varieties are offered. The flavor is also different between the red and brown versions of 'Schweppes Traditional' with the red version having a small amount of raspberry flavor added to it. South Australian soft drink manufacturer Woodroofe produces "Sno-Top", a brown creaming soda drink. A second South Australian soft drink and cordial manufacturer Bickford's markets a deep red colored creaming soda. Golden Circle is another a popular brand of creaming soda.
This is known as Creaming soda, Ice cream soda, Chill drink or cream soda, though the flavor changes are negligible. It is usually a bright yellow color or a white opaque. It is one of the many flavors sold by Foxton Fizz. It is also one of the many carbonated drink-flavors offered by Golden Circle.
Another variety is one referred to as Italian cream soda. This is usually a mixture of carbonated water and half and half or cream combined with vanilla syrup. Ratios vary widely, but the taste is usually that of sweetened, flavored milk.
The Netherlands has only one brand called Frizz, which is caramel-colored. However, Asian (especially Chinese) supermarkets also sell Schweppes Cream Soda. The cream sodas are imported from Hong Kong.
In the UK, cream soda was traditionally served with a dessert-spoonful of vanilla ice cream floating on the top, but this became a rarity in recent years. It is vanilla-flavored, slightly glutinous and has a uniquely thick, "soft" and long-lasting foam. A.G. Barr, Ben Shaw's (a Cott brand), and DG Jamaica manufacture their own brands of cream soda, and most supermarkets sell it under their respective own brands. Pakola, a Pakistani brand of ice cream soda, is available in most Asian retailers.
In India, two brands of cream soda are Cottons and Bijoli.
In Japan, "cream soda" is a term used for an ice cream float made with melon-flavored soda topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
In Malaysia, the F&N or Fraser and Neave brand makes a clear Ice Cream Soda.
In Thailand, Hale's Trading produces Hale's Blue Boy Brand Cream Soda Flavoured Syrup. A green colored rose/floral flavored cordial. This is mixed 1 part to 4 parts water/soda water to get a cream soda drink, very similar to the South African Creme Soda. Or used as a flavoring in their shaved iced deserts. This syrup is sold world-wide in some Asian food stores. Additionally, PepsiCo's division in Thailand produces a green cream flavored soda under their brand name Mirinda.
In South Africa, Creme Soda is often referred to as the "Green Ambulance" (predominantly by students), as it is believed to alleviate the effects of hangovers. Creme Soda is also used as a mixer with cane spirit (an inexpensive alcoholic beverage distilled from fermented sugarcane). This is commonly known as a "John Deer" (cf. John Deere and its green logo), "Cane Train", or "Green Mamba". Cane spirit is chosen due its ability to go relatively unnoticed.
- Michigan Journal, Volume II (1852)
- US 48405, Howell, Alexander C., "Improved Beverage", issued 1865-06-27
- CA 24012, Black, James William, "Ice Cream Soda", issued 1886-05-10 (Patent information at CIPO)
- US 332134, Black, James William, "Ice-cream Soda", issued 1885-12-08 "This invention relates to a new confectionery composition or sirup for conveniently and economically making, as desired, a refreshing beverage called "ice-cream soda." The ingredients used in the beverage, except the ice-water, are combined in a concentrated form and bottled for use, so that as occasion demands it may be quickly mixed with ice-water to form an effervescent, refreshing, and healthful drink."
- Mario Theriault, Great Maritime Inventions 1833–1950, Goose Lane Editions, Fredericton, New Brunswick, 2001, p. 19
- http://www.rootbeer.com/flavors/cream_soda.aspx, referenced August 26, 2008
- Janelle Brown. Los Angeles: Galco’s Soda Pop Store, The New York Times, September 10, 2006, page TR6. Online version retrieved 2011-07-05.