What Is Cream Soda? A Deep Dive into the Ingredients, Taste, and More

5 min read

What Is Cream Soda? A Deep Dive into the Ingredients, Taste, and More

In a world filled with diverse, fizzy refreshments, few beverages possess the nostalgic charm of cream soda. It's a drink that bridges the gap between classic and contemporary, offering a unique blend of flavors that captivate the taste buds. In this blog, join us as we unravel the mystery of this iconic beverage, examining its ingredients, taste profile, caffeine content, historical roots, and the intriguing origins behind its name.

What Is Cream Soda?

Cream soda is a delightful carbonated soft drink celebrated for its frothy, creamy, vanilla-infused flavor. It stands apart from its bolder soda counterparts with a more subtle and nuanced flavor profile that appeals to those seeking a complex, light, yet flavorful beverage experience.

What Is Cream Soda Made Of?

Typically, cream soda is made using carbonated water, sweeteners like sugar or a sugar substitute, and a touch of vanilla flavoring. At OLIPOP, we’re a little more creative with the ingredients we use. We bring you that same nostalgic cream soda flavor you love, but with less sugar and more fiber and prebiotics to help guide you on your path to a healthier lifestyle.


In every can of OLIPOP Cream Soda, there are only 2 grams of sugar and 9 grams of fiber. We achieve this by combining carbonated water, OLISmart (our “secret” blend of fiber, prebiotics, and botanicals), natural dark vanilla flavor, cassava root syrup, lemon juice, and a few other ingredients.

What Does Cream Soda Taste Like?

Our cream soda is better than eating spoonfuls of fluffy, sweet marshmallow cream straight out of the jar. OLIPOP Cream Soda blends irresistibly decadent natural vanilla flavors with premium pure vanilla extract for a sumptuous, smooth soda you’ll savor. It’s also refreshingly light and has that creamy finish, which invites you to indulge without the guilt.

Does Cream Soda Have Caffeine?

Typically, cream soda is a caffeine-free beverage, and that remains true with our delicious OLIPOP version of this all-time classic. There are only 3 OLIPOP flavors that contain caffeine: Vintage Cola, Doctor Goodwin, and Cherry Cola. Our cream soda’s lack of caffeine makes it an ideal choice for an evening beverage or a leisurely treat. 

Cream Soda History: Where Does This Creamy Beverage Come From?

The history of cream soda is a long and complicated one. The first known record of the beverage dates back to 1852, and the drink has seen multiple iterations and evolutions across its long history. Created as a “temperance drink” that might remind the drinker of some of the frothiness and flavor typical of beer at the time, cream soda was intended to satisfy the alcoholic urges of its consumers, without delivering the harmful side effects of alcohol.


In 1852, a recipe for cream soda written by E.M. Sheldon appeared in the publication Michigan Farmer, which contained cream of tartar, Epsom salts, milk, sugar, and eggs among a few other ingredients. While this is hardly similar to the cream soda we drink today, one can see that the recipe outlines a creamy beverage perhaps more akin to modern eggnog or something similar.


Over time, recipes for cream soda evolved. One noteworthy version patented by Canadian James Black was for a drink he called “ice-cream soda”, a sort of fizzy syrup that would become “cream soda” when mixed with water. Later, cream soda became a staple at soda fountains across the United States. Even as those institutions faded away over the years, people’s thirst for cream soda never waned, and it was eventually produced and sold by many of the largest soda brands in the world. 

Why Is Cream Soda Called Cream Soda?

As you might have guessed by now, having read OLIPOP’s list of ingredients earlier, there isn’t actually any cream in the cream soda we drink today. So why is it called cream soda? Sadly, there is no definitive answer to this question. However, there are some speculations as to how this name came about. 


A likely explanation for the name “cream soda” comes from the beverage’s original iteration which included cream of tartar and beaten eggs. The inclusion of these ingredients likely made the drink quite a bit more creamy than it is today, which may explain the name.


Another possible explanation is that in its heyday, cream soda was available at every soda fountain around, where purveyors would frequently order things like milkshakes and root beer floats, in which ice cream was an essential ingredient. Likely, cream soda was also served with ice cream to make a sort of cream soda float—which might explain why its name stuck around.


Finally, despite its recipe no longer containing any dairy products, cream soda might have retained its name due to its vanilla flavoring that creates the smooth, creamy mouthfeel the drink offers, akin to the frothy head atop a well-poured pint. The name is perhaps a nod to the drink’s texture and the delightful sensation it imparts to the taste buds. 

Cream Soda: The Takeaway

Cream soda, with its understated charm and timeless appeal, epitomizes the art of blending simplicity with exquisite taste. Its legacy spans generations, resonating with a diverse audience drawn to its creamy allure for over 150 years.


Whether it's the first fizzy sip that awakens childhood memories or the comforting embrace of its familiar taste on a leisurely afternoon, cream soda can transport us to simpler times, where every gulp is a celebration of life’s little pleasures. So, grab a can, and let’s cheers to cream soda: a beverage that proves sophistication need not be loud, and that sometimes, the most delightful experiences come in the guise of unassuming simplicity.

Cheat Sheet
  • Cream soda was first created in 1852 as a “temperance drink”, designed to replace harmful alcohol products.
  • There’s no real “cream” in cream soda these days. Instead, the essence of its distinct flavor primarily comes from vanilla.
  • OLIPOP offers a delicious caffeine-free cream soda loaded with prebiotic fiber that still tastes like your childhood cream soda but with way less sugar!
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