Seems like there’s a debate as to who invented the very first ice cream soda…could it have been concocted for the first time here in Michigan?

That’s what Fred Sanders claimed, of Sanders Candy in Detroit.

Fred had his own soda fountain shop, where his sodas were very popular. These sodas were made with flavored syrup, carbonated soda water, and sweet cream. One afternoon in 1875, his shop ran out of sweet cream and he needed a substitute to fill the customers’ demands for a soda. So he used ice cream to replace the sweet cream, and the ice cream soda was born! At least it was, according to Fred.

But wait! There are other contenders.

New Jersey baker Philip Mohr said he made one special for a thirsty customer as early as 1862.

Robert Green was an exhibition vendor in Philadelphia who says he came up with the idea in 1874 under the same circumstances as Fred Sanders.

George Guy claims he was the one. He worked for Robert Green and was simultaneously making two orders - a dish of ice cream and a glass of vanilla soda water. By accident, the ice cream plopped into the soda water. George was gonna throw it out but a customer said he wanted to taste it first – he did, and it became the ice cream soda we all know. For years afterward, George bragged that he was the one who came up with it.

So who to believe?

I would like to think it was Fred Sanders in Detroit, but how would we know if that’s accurate? In the meantime, just enjoy some ice cream sodas this summer and don’t worry about it.

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