All Press Releases for September 29, 2010

New Book on the History of Soda Fountains

Fix the Pumps rediscovers the forgotten history of the early American soda fountain and the unique role it played in creating this immensely popular drink category.

    LONDON, ON, September 29, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- When chemist and bartender Darcy S. O'Neil was asked a question about an old soda fountain ingredient called Acid Phosphate, by New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian, he didn't realize that it would lead to a book on the rediscovery of a forgotten category of drinks and the fascinating history behind the creation of soda-pop.

Darcy O'Neil explains why the history of soda fountains is so interesting. "The golden era of the soda fountain was as colourful as any period in American history. Most people don't realize that many soda fountains were as bad as saloons during the late 1800s. Instead of alcohol, the pharmacists were adding drugs, like cocaine, to the drinks. These drugs were legal and even considered beneficial by the medical community, until the adverse effects became obvious. People who developed an addiction, were said to have the "soda habit" or were labeled a "soda fiend". The intoxicating substances in soda raised the ire of the Temperance movement and many pharmacy soda fountains were targeted with equal zeal to the gin dispensing saloon across the street."

David Wondrich, James Beard Award winning author and Esquire Magazine drinks correspondent, says "Reading Fix the Pumps is like having somebody show up with the key for that painted-over door in the corner you've never really paid any attention to, unlocking it and revealing a whole furnished room you never even realized was there."

Interesting Facts
- The term "fix the pumps" was soda jerk code for checking out girls at the soda fountain.
- Other phrases included "hold the hail" for no ice and "wreck'em" from scrambled eggs.
- Coca-Cola in the 1890s contained 9 mg of cocaine per 8 oz serving.
- Chocolate soda was once the most popular flavour at the soda counter.
- Lactarts were a class of drink made using lactic acid.

In addition to the colourful history of the soda fountain, Fix the Pumps includes detailed descriptions of the techniques and recipes used by soda jerks and pharmacists to create these unique beverages. The book contains over 450 vintage soda recipes and syrups used in drinks like the Cherry Phosphate, Sarsaparilla, Egg Malted Milkshake and World's Fair Punch.

The paperback edition of Fix the Pumps is available through and a downloadable ebook edition is available at Mix This! ( Retailers can place orders through the Ingram Book Group.

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary copy of the ebook or print version by contacting Darcy S. O'Neil at [email protected]. Darcy is available for speaking and book signing appearances. Please contact him directly.

About the Author:
Darcy S. O'Neil is the author of Art of Drink (, the #1 cocktail blog on the Internet. He originally studied chemistry but found the combination of science, bartending and writing more fulfilling. He can still be found work part-time at the University of Western Ontario and occasionally behind a bar, but mostly at his desk.

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Contact Information

Darcy O'Neil
Art of Drink
London, Ontario
Voice: 1-519-870-4193
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The front material and first chapter of Fix the Pumps