“Style: How to Be a Jerk – nytimes.com/video”

The owners of the Brooklyn Farmacy soda fountain in Cobble Hill demonstrate how to make a classic egg cream.

For Soda, the Genie Is Out of the Bottle


CLASSICS Eric Berley, left, makes a cherry phosphate soda. At right, a sundae at Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain. Credit Left, Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times; right, Phil Kline for The New York Times

WHO killed the soda fountain?

Was it Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed the 1933 repeal of Prohibition, allowing American adults to return to saloons and bars?

Or one J. G. Kirby of Dallas, who opened the first drive-in restaurant in 1936, sparking a new national craze?

“Some people say it was the guy who invented the bottle cap,” says Jeff Reiter, the owner of Blueplate in Portland, Ore., a soda fountain updated for the modern century. (William Painter, who patented the crimped metal bottle cap, ultimately made fortunes for companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Royal Crown.) “Once you could buy soda at the gas station instead of having it mixed in front of you at the fountain, soda wasn’t special anymore,” Mr. Reiter said.

A small group of modern soda jerks (they wear the term proudly) are trying to change that. Places like Blueplate, the Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia and the Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain are leading a revival that is bringing up-to-date culinary values — seasonal, house…

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