A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 12, 2009
Cream Soda

Cream soda (a carbonated soft drink0 is first cited in America in 1854. Cream soda became popular in New York City, where Hegeman’s drug stores sold the product in the 1860s. Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda is certified kosher and has been a staple at New York’s delis for many years. Wolf’s Delicatessen has offered a “Royal Cream Soda,” spiked with vodka.

Early recipes for cream soda included a number of varying ingredients, including water, sugar, tartaric acid, vanilla, nutmeg and rich sweet cream.


Wikipedia; Cream Soda
Cream soda is a sweet carbonated soft drink. It varies from country to country, but its most usual property is its vanilla flavoring. Its name originated, at least in the United Kingdom, from “ice cream soda” as it was traditionally served with a dollop of ice cream floating in it.

International variations
North America

The first patent for Cream Soda was granted in Canada to James William Black of Berwick, Nova Scotia on July 5, 1886. The recipe had whipped egg whites, sugar, lime juice, lemons, citric acid, flavouring, and bicarbonate of soda. Today, Canadian cream soda is often pink and has a unique taste somewhat reminiscent of grenadine. But clear versions of cream soda can also be found in Canada, particularly in the Province of Quebec where pink cream soda is very rare or non-existent. The first patent for cream soda in the United States was granted to Francis John Higgins in Chicago. He later sold his company to Hires Root Beer, who wanted his recipe for cream soda. In the U.S. market, cream soda is often clear or colored light brown and vanilla-flavored, but pink, red, and blue are also relatively common. 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&W Vanilla Cream Soda (contains caffeine)
. Barq’s Red Creme Soda
. Big Red
. Boylan’s Creme Vanilla
. Briar’s Premium Cream Soda
. Big Shot Cream Soda (New Orleans area)
. 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)
. Henry Weinhard’s Cream Soda
. IBC
. Jones Soda
. Mug Cream Soda
. Route 66 Sodas Cream Soda (New Route 66 Flavor)
. Shasta Creme Soda
. Stewart’s
. Vess (Old St. Louis variety that is a deep pink)
. Virgil’s Cream Soda
. White Rock Beverages

Wikipedia: Dr. Brown’s
Dr. Brown’s is a brand of soft drink bottled by Canada Dry. It is a popular brand in the New York City region, but it can also be found in Jewish delicatessens and upscale supermarkets around the United States.

Dr. Brown’s varieties include:

. cream soda (regular and diet),
. black cherry soda (regular and diet),
. orange soda,
. ginger ale,
. root beer, and
. Cel-Ray (celery-flavored soda).

Dr. Brown’s soda is typically sold in 12-ounce cans and in one-liter and plastic bottles as well as two-liters in Black Cherry, Cream, and Root Beer flavors. (Less common are Dr. Brown’s 12-ounce glass bottles.)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: cream soda
Function: noun
Date: 1854
: a carbonated soft drink flavored with vanilla

(Oxford English Dictionary)
cream soda orig. U.S., a carbonated drink of soda water
1854 Amer. Agriculturist 20 Dec. 233/3 A recipe has been sold all over the country for making ‘*cream-soda’.
1935 L. MACNEICE Poems 31 Drunk with steam-organs, thigh-rub and cream-soda.

Google Books
Practical American Cookery and Domestic Economy
Compiled by Eliabeth M. Hall
New York, NY: C. M. Saxton, barker & Co.
1860
Pg. 324:
CREAM SODA—AN EXCELLENT DRINK FOR WARM WEATHER.
Five pounds of loaf sugar, one ounce cream of tartar, one ounce Epsom salts, five ounces tartaric acid. Dissolve all the ingredients in one gallon of water, and beat it till it boils; and skim, if necessary. WHen cool, put the syrup in bottles, and set in a cool place. To prepare the drink, put two or three tablespoons full of the syrup into a tumbler two-thirds full of water; add one-fourth of a teaspoon full of super-carbonate of soda; stir briskly, and the effervescence will be equal to any soda from the fount. Try it.

Google Books
Husbands and Homes
By Marion Harland
New York, NY: Sheldon and Company
1865
Pg. 278:
John had suffered an equal thirst, appeased by sundry glasses of “cream soda, with pure fruit syrups,” imbibed unpremeditatedly, as he happened to be passing certain druggists in his street.

Google Books
Belgravia, a London magazine, conducted by M.E. Braddon
By Belgravia
Published by , 1866
Pg. 323:
...assiduity with the same gentlemen they meet on Broadway, and buy the same music at Horace Waters’, and eat the same vanilla ice at the pastrycook’s, and drink the same cream soda at Hegeman’s, and bargain for the same grenadine at A. T. Stewart’s, and come to a halt in their promenade at the same corner of Canal street…

Google Books
Notes and Sketches of the Paris Exhibition
By George Augustus Sala
London: Tinsley Brothers
1868
Pg. 374:
At the bar, and from syphon tubes decorated with silvery figures of the American eagle, were dispensed the delicious “cream soda” so highly recommended by the faculty.

Google Books
A Dictionary of Every-Day Wants
By A. E. Youman, M. D.
New York, NY: Frank Reed, Publisher
1872
Pg. 374:
CREAM SODA.—Loaf sugar ten lbs., water 3 gals.; warm gradually so as not to burn; good rich cream, 2 quarts; extract vanilla, 1 1/2 ounce; extract nutmeg, 1/2 ounce; tartaric acid, 4 ounces. Just bring to a boiling heat; for, if you cook it any length of time, it will crystallize; use 4 or 5 spoonfuls of this syrup instead of three, as in other syrups; put 2/3 teaspoonful of soda to a glass; if used without a fountain. For charged fountains no acid is used.

Google Books
Facts and Hints for Every-Day Life
London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin
1873
Pg. 139:
Cream Soda.—In a porcelain saucepan or small preserving-kettle put two quarts of water, three pounds of white sugar, and two and a half ounces of tartaric acid; place over the fire, and let it just come to a boil. Beat to a stiff froth the whites of three eggs, and add to the boiling water, &c. Let it boil just four minutes, stirring constantly; strain, and when cold addd one teaspoonful of either lemon, pine-apple, or any flavouring essence that is desired; bittle it tightly. When wanted for use turn two tablespoonful of it into half a tumblerful of ice-water, and stir into it one-third of a tea-spoonful of carbonate of soda; it foams very nicely, and is a very agreeable, refreshing beverage. 

Google Books
Dr. Chase’s Recipes
By A. W. Chase, M. D.
Ann Arbor, MI; R. A. Beal, Publishers
1873
Pg. 59:
11. Cream Soda, Using Cow’s Cream, for Fountains.—Nice loaf sugar, 5 lbs; sweet rich cream, 1 qt.; water, 1 1/2 gills; warm gradually so as not to burn; extract of vanilla, 3/4 o.; extract of nutmeg, 1/4 oz.

Just bring to a boiling heat, for if you cook it any legnth of time it will crystalie; use four or five spoons of this syrup instead of three as in other syrups. If used without a fountain, tartaric acid one-quarter pound is added. The tendency of this syrup is to sour rather quicker than other syrups, but it is very nice while it lasts; and if only made in small quantitites and kept cool, it more than pays for the trouble of making often.

Google Books
29 March 1878, Harvard Lampoon, pg. 109 (?) ad:
Bartlett’s College Pharmacy.
(...)
RICH CREAM SODA AND MINERAL WATERS ON DRAUGHT

22 February 1984, New York (NY) Times, “Dr. Brown in Market Expansion; National Push for Deli Soda,” pg. D4:
After more than a half-centuiry as a best seller in Jewish delicatessens in New York, Dr. Brown’s soda is setting out to make its name known in the world at large.

In the process, the 115-year-old brand hopes to broaden the market for its most popular flavors—cream, balck cherry and Cel-Ray, or celery-flavored, sodas—without losing its ethnic following.
(...)
The brand has been around since 1869 when, as legend has it, a Dr. Brown from the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn produced a celery soda and persuaded a friend at the Scholz Bottling Company to market it as a celery tonic, according to Mr. Berberich.
(...)
“Dr. Brown’s is a cult drink to those of us who grew up in New York,” he said.

9 June 1984 New York (NY) Times, “Q. What is a ‘Dixie’? A. A Kind of Walker” by Howard Topoff, pg. 23:
4. Dr. Brown is best known for
(a) Founding Bushwick Hospital.
(b) Being the first president of Brooklyn College.
(c) Making the world’s best cream soda.
(...)
ANSWERS
4. (c) His Celery Tonic and Black Cherry Soda, also first rate, are especially good with hot pastrami.

Google Books
Jewish Farmers of the Catskills:
A Century of Survival

By Abraham D. Lavender, Clarence B. Steinberg
Published by University Press of Florida
1995
Pg. 178:
Another New York City emblem was ubiquitous at these buffets: the ornately labeled Dr. Brown’s bottles containing cream soda, ginger ale, or celery tonic

New York (NY) Times
SHAKEN AND STIRRED; Dr. Brown’s Wild Side
By WILLIAM L. HAMILTON
Published: November 9, 2003
ONE of New York’s newest cocktail lounges is not exactly where you would expect it to be: Chelsea or Williamsburg or the Lower East Side. It’s in Wolf’s Delicatessen on 57th Street, near the Avenue of the Americas, upstairs above the sandwich counter and the dessert case.

Wolf’s unveiled a new menu last week (the items from the old dog-eared brown one reprinted on coffee-shop gloss stock), but now alongside the smoked fish platters and latkes is a cocktail list that includes house specialties like Wolf’s Royal Cream Soda. That’s Dr. Brown’s cream soda, a deli staple, with Absolut vodka in it.
(...)
WOLF’S ROYAL CREAM SODA
Adapted from Wolf’s Delicatessen

1 1/4 ounce Absolut Vanilia
5 ounces Dr. Brown’s cream soda
Lime slice.

1. Pour vodka into a wine glass filled with ice.
2. Pour cream soda over that. Don’t stir. Garnish with a lime slice.
Yield: 1 serving.

Google Books
Frommer’s New York City from $90 a Day 2004
By Brian Silverman
Published by Frommer’s
2003
Pg. 146:
Katz’s Delicatessen JEWISH DELI Arguably the city’s best Jewish deli. The motto is, “There’s Nothing More New York than Katz’s,” and it’s spot-on. Founded in 1888, this cavernous, brightly lit place is suitably New York with dill pickles, Dr. Brown’s cream soda, and old-world attitude to spare.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Thursday, February 12, 2009 • Permalink