HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Does a phosphate taste different than a soda? Are current colas phosphates?

  • 2

Phospates were before my time. The first time I came across a phospate was this week at a new soda fountain. Tasted like soda to me. However it was a raspberry lavender phospate so the lavander might have distracted me.

This site says that the name came from phosphoric acid being added to the beverage "to enhance its taste and fizz"

It also mentions that phosphoric acid has been found to leach calcium from bones and shoudl not be consumed by pregnant women or the elderly.

It goes on to say that most dark colored sodas like colas and root beer still use phosphoric acid while light colored sodas use citric acid. So does that make drinks like Coca Cola a phospate?

This old Chowhound post says

"I well recall cherry phosphates at the soda fountains of my youth, back in the days when they were served up by real Soda Jerks. (Incidentally, I guess that's why I think of "Baristas" as "Coffee Jerks".)

The "phosphate" tag came from the phosphoric acid which was added to the syrup for tartness (and, incidentally, to enhance the fizziness of the carbonated water). Phosporic acid is still used in some concoctions, like "Classic" Coke."

Good line,Gary. I'll have trouble from now on looking at a barista without inwardly chuckling.

Anyway here is another interesting article about the history of the soda fountain where once upon a time you could cure your headache by downing a fizzy combination of cocaine and caffeine.

At the end it says "from the bad reputation that developed as result of the “habit forming” products sold from the 1860’s through the early 1900’s. Jacob Baur, founder of the Liquid Carbonic Company, used the following in an advertisement for one of his soft drinks, “it isn’t medicinal, won’t cure anything… isn’t intoxicating or habit forming – it’s just flavory, fruity, snappy, sparkling, delicious.”

So history aside, are we really drinking phospates today but under a different name? Would a cherry phospate taste any different that a cherry soda made with citric acid?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i got one answer in the thread about the ice cream parlor I visited.

    "Ha, but I am and not only to have tried them but to have made them at the soda fountain of a real mid-western drug store in the 50's. I read that linked article and I'll say that we never added phosphoric acid (never even heard of that) to them. A phosphate was flavored syrup and seltzer water, period. The concentrated syrup came in large (gallon?) jugs and we diluted it with "simple syrup", a solution of sugar and water we mixed up in the basement. All very basic and very good"

    1. In the early 1960s the soda fountain in the Thrifty Drug near our home in Salinas served a"lime phosphate" -- tart lime syrup & seltzer water -- as a healthy alternative to lemon or cherry cokes for children. . . very fizzy, slightly tart & refreshing on a warm afternoon after school.