The Fabulous Fountain Drink: The Secret to The Best Soda

The Secret to the Best Soda

Since the days of the soda fountain’s rise to fame in the 1940s and ‘50s, consumers have been particular about how and where they drink soda. Many claim to know the difference between a fountain drink and a bottle or can of soda. Why the difference? For diehard soda fans, it’s the ritual itself, much like preparing the coffee grounds and pouring hot, fresh coffee into your cup each morning. From the temperature to the straws, cups to carbonation, ice cubes to the perfect temperature … fountain soda remains special for many.

The Right Ratio

As with any beverage, there’s a certain science to getting it just right. Cocktails are measured in ounces, for example, and too much creamer or sugar in a cup of tea or coffee will overpower its delicate flavor. The same goes for a fountain drink. Each flavor is comprised of flavored syrup and carbonated water, mixed right in the machine for a consistent, repeatable pour again and again. Most Bernick’s customers, for example, use our post-mix system which means the ratio is set onsite. Ensuring it’s the right ratio is crucial to serving the best tasting beverage. Most of our products mix at a ratio of five parts water to one part syrup. If there’s too much water, the beverage tastes weak or watered down. On the reverse, too much syrup makes the beverage too sweet and too thick.

Another important aspect of the fountain drink recipe is temperature. The product needs to be mixed at the proper temperature or the finished product will taste flat. Carbonation works best in colder water.

Proper Maintenance 

Provided foodservice locations have the proper product ratio and temperatures dialed in, ensuring product integrity is the other half of the quality equation. The equipment must be kept clean at all times. This includes the back of the house or storage area where the connections to the dispensing nozzles or buttons or levers at the front of the house (serving areas) are. Dispensing nozzles can be removed from machines and cleaned nightly. The dispensing machine should be wiped down with a food-safe sanitizer solution. A good back of house practice is to soak or clean the connections on the mix boxes when changing or replacing syrup boxes. Quality and service are very important to Bernick’s and we extend the same principles to our customers—this ensures product superiority and consumer satisfaction!

Resources to help make your fountain program even better:

  1. Fountain Troubleshooting Guide—free download
  2. Connect with a Service Specialist 
  3. Caring for Your Fountain During COVID-19

Ensuring your bar or restaurant’s water access is clean and well-maintained means your ice production will be better for it. How your glassware is washed, cleaned, and sanitized also affects how beverages taste once served. There’s a whole lot of consideration that goes into pouring the perfect fountain drink. 

Unbeatable Fountain Flavors

Which brand of soda was first poured from a classic fountain? History argues between Schweppes Ginger Ale and Dr Pepper—the former hitting the market in 1870 and Dr Pepper’s famous 23-flavors recipe following in 1885. The advent of ice cream being served at soda fountains across the country’s drug stores and diners further opened up the mixology that lead to Purple Cows, Dreamsicles, Root Beer Floats, Boston Coolers, Pepsi Floats, and other classic combinations of soda poured over scoops of ice cream. 

Today, the most popular fountain flavors are still colas and flavored soft drinks. Diet or no sugar varieties are fan favorites as well. We are starting to see a growing demand for non-carbonated flavors like Gatorade, iced tea, and lemonades along with new trends of flavored or enhanced waters. It’s hard to beat an icy glass of Pepsi served alongside pizza, breadsticks, and buffalo wings, but there’s a lot of thought that goes into a snack stop at a C-store or grocery store with self-serve fountains available for consumers. 

Some classic combinations of convenient, on-the-go pairings include:

  • Root beer and hotdogs 
  • MTN DEW and sunflower seeds (or nachos!) 
  • Lemonade and sour candy
  • Iced tea and BBQ chips
  • Cold brew and donuts or pastries

While cold brew isn’t a classic fountain drink, it’s still considered for the pairings list because it’s just too good not to!


Your consumers have their go-to favorites and are loyal to their beverages of choice and routines that include a “stop for a pop”. Ensuring their favorite brands are accessible and the quality is spot on means they’ll continue stopping for a long time to get their fix. Here’s to pouring happiness into your customers!


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Published on: Jun 8, 2021

Topics: Service, Soda Fountain

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