March 17, 2010

Floating Down A Green River


If there’s one thing you can say about Chicagoans; we love St. Patrick’s Day. Parades, pubs and the Chicago River dyed green are just some of the ways we like to celebrate. And of course you can’t go anywhere without finding Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, Irish Soda bread and a beverage that’s native to Chicago…Green River Soda.

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June 12, 2007

Bringing back the soda shop era

I went to RAM (a local microbrewery) the other night to meet some friends. I wasn’t in the mood for beer, so I decided to go with a root beer float for a decent $3.99. Much to my surprise (and quite frankly, my embarrassment), I received the largest overflowing mug of vanilla ice cream and root beer deliciousness that I have ever seen in my life. If you’ve been to RAM, you might know that their desserts are notoriously humongous, but never have I been served a drink in such gigantic proportions. To make matters more embarrassing, while I couldn’t help but crack up hysterically at the ridiculous sight of what now became my gluttonous mission, the waitress kept a completely straight face (she also just happened to be extremely unfriendly.) No grin, no nothing. If it weren’t for my friends, I might never have had validation that this float was out of the ordinary.

The root beer float option however, is not. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve been noticing root beer floats, or the float concept in general, popping up all over the place. Some have even gone so far as making root beer float cakes (see more recipes at .) Sure, it’s no new idea, but perhaps it’s becoming trendy to bring it back. Wendy’s is in on it too. Visit one lately? They now have frosty floats where you can pick any soda to mix with either chocolate or vanilla frosty (their version of ice cream.) And, each time you get one you have a chance to win a Wii! Bringing back a classic is downright genius if you ask me. Not to mention, the combination of carbonation and ice cream is delicious.

This trend, so to speak, has put me on my own mission: to bring back the phosphates. What’s a phosphate you may ask? Well, the writers at explain:

“Phosphates were carbonated beverages made-from-scratch by the ‘soda jerk’ using carbonated soda water, flavored syrups and phosphoric acid, an ingredient still used today in many brands of soda-pop including Coke. Popular flavors included cherry, lime (usually called a green river), chocolate and vanilla.”

But more importantly, they are delicious! Well, at least the chocolate ones are; the lime sounds iffy.
If you didn’t know what they were, don’t feel bad. It’s been my experience that anyone under the age of 50 that I’ve encountered has never heard of such a thing. And, neither had I until a few years ago when I took a trip to visit my grandpa in Florida. We went to a local diner where a whole slew of his friends had ordered chocolate phosphates. They would respond to my look of confusion as if I was the one who was nuts. Anyway, they forced me to try a sip, and in a nutshell, it was like a party in my mouth. Mmmm.

So I say, bring back the phosphates, and the entire soda shop era for that matter, because that generation sure knew how to indulge.

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