Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda

ice cream soda

Today I am taking a little trip down memory lane.  Want to join me?

I am lucky to have grown up in a small to mid size town in the mid-west. (about 45,000)  Kenosha, Wisconsin was just the right size kind of town. Not so small that everyone knows your business but not so big that no one knows you!

My high school was right downtown – Mary D.Bradford High School. We had an open lunch hour which meant we could leave the school to go home for lunch or anywhere we wanted. Once we learned to drive and had a car (loved my little yellow Honda Civic) we would head to the local drive-in that had 25 cent hamburgers.  When we were on foot it was the candy counter at the J.C. Penny’s.  Yes, I would eat candy for lunch.  It really wasn’t much worse than the bag of cheetos and carton of chocolate milk I would buy most days in the school cafeteria.  But sometimes my friends and I would head over to the Woolworth’s, the local five and dime that was right downtown. Downtown was basically one main street and a few side streets with shops. Not too small and not too big.  (So I am not quite as old as this photo below!)


Woolworths had a little bit of everything. It was the Target of its’ day. I bought sewing supplies there and they even carried pet supplies and pets!  The thing I loved most about Woolworth’s was that it had a lunch counter. (Thanks to Google Images I was able to find a photo of the actual lunch counter from my Woolworths!)


You could sit there on a stool and enjoy a hamburger or a grilled cheese sandwich and of course a milkshake or an ice cream soda. I’m not sure kids today have ever even sat at  a lunch counter or ice cream fountain.  The era of the ice cream fountain/lunch counter as the norm is long gone. You can occasionally find them in an old pharmacy around town here in Portland. But it is definitely a novelty rather than the norm.

One of my favorite things to enjoy at the soda fountain was a chocolate ice cream soda.  Since I can no longer enjoy one at an ice cream fountain I just have to make them at home and that is easy to do!

The ingredients are pretty simple – ice cream, chocolate syrup, soda/seltzer water and some whip cream and sprinkles for the top.

ice cream soda

Depending on the size of your glass I used about 2 Tablespoons of chocolate syrup to 1/2 C soda/seltzer water.  Then a couple scoops of ice cream and a hit of whip cream and sprinkles!

Ice cream soda collage - CopyPretty simple!  You could switch it up with some chocolate ice cream for more chocolately goodness.

ice cream soda

The last thing left to do is add a spoon and a straw and dig it!

ice cream soda

For other ice cream treats try these:

Lime Sherbet Freeze – Vanilla Malt– Vanilla Cherry Floats
Ice Cream treats

Old Fashioned Ice Cream Soda
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1 ice cream soda
  • 2 large scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate syrup
  • ½ C seltzer or soda water
  • whip cream and sprinkles to garnish
  1. Pour chocolate syrup and soda water into glass.
  2. Stir to mix well.
  3. Add in ice cream
  4. Top with whip cream and sprinkles.


Leigh Anne


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Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. Denise says

    Oh Leigh Anne, You are sooo bad ~ Hubby and I have LOVED making the vanilla cherry ice cream float and I always wanted to know how to make a chocolate soda. Is this the same as a ‘brown cow?” I love hearing about these wonderful mid western and east coast home town ‘oldies’ How wonderful to bring them to us–both the young and the older ‘young at heart’ folks. My folks emigrated from Switzerland, so as kids we never got to venture out much. I’m sure I missed alot. I am old now, and am trying many things for the first time, and having the excuse to try it out on the grandkids is a bonus . It is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Oh…and as a side note, and forgive me for mentioning it here, but the pills for allergy were a 100% success by freezing them first. Thanks so much again for the tip !

    • says

      I’m not sure if it is the same as a brown cow but it sure is good! So glad you have enjoyed the Vanilla cherry floats!! You’re never to old to try new things!! So glad the allergy pills are working!!

  2. Marti King says

    Thanks for sharing your childhood memories. What a nice place to grow up!
    I love soda’s and floats. One of my favorite treats.
    We are on our way to your town for our granddaughter’s wedding in the Portland temple. Thinking about you!

  3. Kathy says

    Loved seeing the old pictures of Woolworth. I remember that counter. They also had great ice cream treats at the Dutch Maid downtown and the Spot Drive Inn on the southside.

  4. Anne Marie says

    Oh my! What wonderful pictures of Woolworth’s counter.
    I remember it well growing up in Massachusetts and I loved my chocolate ice cream soda’s.
    I am going to make your recipe and recall all those yummy memories in every bite. Thank you.

  5. says

    My grandmother always used to tell me stories about going to get ice cream sodas and flirting with the soda jerks :) Thanks a great recipe, and making that nice memory pop up :)

  6. patty wilkerson says

    After So glad you talked about ice cream soda’s and the soda fountains that sold them. I miss them. Our Woolworth’s made the best ice cream soda. They start out with about 1/4 cup milk then add the chocolate syrup, the seltzer water, 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream , whip cream and cherry on top. Ummmm nothing better! Please try the milk addition, it is so much better. We go to an ice cream shop at the beach and I always have to tell the to put milk in the glass first. Let me know how you like it. If you Google chocolate ice cream soda, it will list recipes with the milk included


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