AMAC MAGAZINE: Volume 18, Issue 1 - JAN/FEB 2024

Yesteryear A Return to

Y our whitewall tires cruise down Main Street and park along a curb blanketed under a starry night. You enter a place where all ages gather, bellies fill with sugar, and a jukebox plays. You sit on a swivel barstool at a countertop as polished as your parents’ Corvette outside. The clerk standing behind the counter smiles as they fill tall glasses with carbonated water, thick brown syrup, and the occasional malted milk. The final product is slid your way, and you eagerly pull the red and white striped straw to your lips and indulge in the sweet sensation coating your

taste buds. You may have guessed it … you’re at the soda fountain. But have you ever wondered what happened to these American staples and how their popularity rose and then collapsed? Today, America is the number one consumer of soda. But those sparkly bubbles that tickle our tongues had their birth overseas. It was chemist Joseph Priestley who invented the fusion of water with carbon dioxide for medical purposes. Then, it took roughly 100 years for this science

experiment to be reenvisioned by an American pharmacist named Charles Alderton, who decided to combine this carbonated water with a thick brown syrup to mask the horrid flavor of medicine that his customers so often complained about. This phenomenon of being able to easily consume medicine quickly caught on. Soon, it became common practice for pharmacists to dilute their medications with Alderton’s famous (and still enjoyed) recipe. The most popular drugs to be mixed with his drink were caffeine and

46 • AMAC Magazine

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