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TikTok’s Dirty Soda Trend: Uncovering its Pre-Prohibition Origins

TikTok’s Dirty Soda Trend: A Fascinating Link to the Prohibition Era

In an age of fleeting trends and viral sensations, it’s remarkable to discover that certain fads have roots deep in American history. While our world today may seem very different from the early to mid-1900s, some trends have managed to stand the test of time, albeit in modernized forms.
One such trend that has recently gained popularity on TikTok is the “dirty soda” phenomenon. If you’re a regular user of the popular social media platform, you may have come across videos showing cups of regular soda topped with milk, cream, and various syrups. The appeal of this unconventional combination extends beyond TikTok, as it has also found a dedicated following within Mormon communities (The Washington Post).

The Soda Fountain: Birthplace of Dirty Sodas

To truly understand the origins of dirty soda, we must take a step back in time to the era of the American soda fountain. These delightful establishments were a staple of every small-town drugstore or pharmacy in the 19th century, offering customers a refreshing and carbonated experience. Much like modern soda machines, soda fountains filled glasses with sweet, bubbly beverages.
The popularity of soda fountains can be traced back to a rather unexpected source: Prohibition. During the 1900s, when the consumption of alcohol was prohibited, people sought alternative social spaces. The soda fountain became a popular gathering place, offering a wholesome and enjoyable environment similar to a bar (Soderland Drugstore Museum).

Unearthing the tastes of the past

Sodas in the early 1900s were very different from the familiar brands like Coke and Pepsi that we know today. These beverages were often sweetened with various syrups and creams, resulting in unique and tantalizing flavors. Historical accounts reveal that ice cream and even egg phosphates were commonly used to create creamier and frothier drinks, including the intriguingly named “egg creams” and unconventional milkshakes (
Similar to the modern concept of dirty sodas, soda fountain patrons could order customized drinks to suit their tastes. A popular choice was a soda sweetened with lemon-flavored syrup and topped with a scoop of their favorite ice cream. The versatility and ability to experiment with flavors were key elements in the appeal of these drinks (Eater).

Dirty Sodas: Then and Now

Today, the original recipe for a dirty soda involves combining Diet Coke with lime juice, coconut syrup, and half-and-half. But the beauty of this trend is its adaptability. You can customize your dirty soda by incorporating your favorite flavors and ingredients, allowing for endless experimentation and creativity.
The resurgence of dirty sodas, popularized by platforms like TikTok, demonstrates how cultural trends can transcend time and find new life in the digital age. It serves as a testament to the enduring appeal of unique and unconventional flavor combinations that capture the imagination of a new generation of beverage enthusiasts.

The Legacy of Dirty Sodas

As we indulge in today’s dirty soda trend, it’s important to recognize and appreciate its historical ties to the Prohibition era and soda fountains of yesteryear. By embracing and experimenting with these creative concoctions, we not only enjoy a delicious beverage, but also pay homage to the traditions and innovations of our culinary past.
So the next time you take a sip of a frothy, flavorful dirty soda, remember that you’re participating in a trend that predates Prohibition itself. And as you raise your glass, toast to the enduring spirit of American ingenuity and the ability of trends from the past to find their place in the present.


The dirty soda trend on TikTok involves topping regular branded sodas with milk, cream, and various syrups to create unique and flavorful combinations.

Where did the dirty soda trend come from?

The dirty soda trend has its roots in the classic American institution of soda fountains, which were popular in the early 1900s.

Why were soda fountains so popular during Prohibition?

During Prohibition, the consumption of alcohol was banned, causing people to seek alternative social spaces. Soda fountains provided a wholesome and fun gathering place, reminiscent of a bar atmosphere.

How were sodas different in the early 1900s than they are today?

In the early 1900s, sodas were often sweetened with various syrups and creams, and additional ingredients such as ice cream and egg phosphates were used to create creamier and frothier drinks.

What is the original recipe for a dirty soda?

The original recipe for a dirty soda is Diet Coke flavored with lime juice, coconut syrup and half and half. However, the trend allows for customization and experimentation with different flavors and ingredients.

What makes the dirty soda trend unique and sustainable?

The dirty soda trend demonstrates the enduring appeal of unconventional flavor combinations and the ability to customize and personalize beverages according to individual preferences. Its resurgence through platforms like TikTok shows how cultural trends can find new life in the digital age.

One thought on “TikTok’s Dirty Soda Trend: Uncovering its Pre-Prohibition Origins

  1. I love dirty sodas! They’re such a fun and refreshing treat. I especially like the original recipe with Diet Coke, lime juice, coconut syrup, and half-and-half. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

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