The Flavored Coke

I wanted to finish with my favorite soda fountain drink, which is also one of the simplest: the flavored Coke. My dad first introduced me to these at a historic diner in West Lafayette, Indiana, a place known as the Triple XXX, and no, not for pornography. He ordered me a simple vanilla Coke and to this day I don’t think I’ve tasted a better soft drink. Made from genuine Coca Cola syrup with a shot of thick vanilla syrup added, it was served cold with no ice (as soft drinks usually were back in the heyday of soda fountains) and I savored every last drop.

It’s hard to replicate the experience without the real fountain syrups, but this comes fairly close. Here I have an ounce of cola syrup, which you can get online or in the States at Bed, Bath & Beyond stores which sell those SodaStream machines. I also made up some heavily-scented vanilla syrup, about an ounce of simple syrup plus half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Again, you can buy real fountain vanilla syrup from soda supply shops on the web, but this worked well. I combined one with the other…

…gave it a good shot of ice cold soda water, and…

…near perfection. Friends, a deeply good soft drink doesn’t need ice.

They understand that at the Triple XXX, which to this day serves its famous root beer without ice, in frosty mugs. I stopped in there yesterday as a matter of fact and had one. The bottled stuff is nearly as good.

Triple XXX root beer “Makes Thirst a Joy”. Speaking as an ad man, they don’t write taglines like that anymore, friends. Nope, that was the golden age.

19 thoughts on “The Flavored Coke”

  1. I have to say I’ve always been a fan of flavored cokes and vanilla was one of my favorite. I’ve also had a lemon coke that was pretty good. I don’t drink soda much but if I did this would be a good choice. Nice photos too.

  2. I’m not a fan of root beer but Canadians are. Big time! So are my son and my husband.

    One night when I was living in Vancouver on the North Shore I got stopped by a team of mounties doing a sobriety check. They peeked in the car and saw the A&Ws I had in a carrier on the passenger seat and shooed me on advised to get home before they went flat.

    I adore Vancouver and the mounties are incredibly tactful and unfailingly cheerful. …if you don’t mess with them. That helps make up for my disappointment in discovering that they save the red tunics for ceremonial occasions these days.

  3. Have you seen the newfangled Coke machines that let you create whatever flavor soda you want? I bet you could have a lot of fun with one of those…

    1. I have and they are extremely cool. I’ve been wanting to play with one for a long time!

      – Joe

    1. Looks like fun! We have upscale designer cocktails now…why not upscale designer sodas?

      Thanks Rainey, I’ll drop in next time I’m back home!

      – Joe

    2. Now that is cool! I would go there in a heartbeat… alas…I live thousands of miles away.

  4. What a great vanilla-coke recipe, I definitely going to try this myself, hope I’ll succeed like you, thanks joepastry

  5. This takes me back to childhood and Dr. Perkins’ drugstore fountain. I’d get either a vanilla Coke or a lime one. When I do order a Coca Cola (which is rare, having grown up with way too many in an Atlanta neighborhood filled with the company’s executives), I ask for a lime with it. Not the same, but better than plain. Thanks, Joe.

    A bunch of women from Kentucky came into the tile shop where I work the other day, and I told them about their state treasure – you. I think you may have some more fans.

    1. What can I say to a compliment like that, Naomi? Holy cow!

      Thanks and have a great — long — weekend.

      – Joe

  6. Joe,

    I was just in West Lafayette with my wife (a Purdue Alum) and had to visit Triple X. It is quite the experience. Great rootbeer, and peanut butter on hamburgers means a must visit in my book.

    1. Another thing I love is all the goofy sandwiches they have that have been inspired by Purdue football players over the decades. One sandwich, known as the Purvis, has cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and peanut butter. What’s not to love? It’s the kinda joint that does much exist in America anymore.

      All hail our own Purdue!

      – Joe

  7. Vendors on the beach mix up a masala coke. Even though that sounds suspicious it tastes amazing. Quite a bit of finely ground chaat masala whizzed up with coke and lemon juice 😀

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