Press & Media

by Darcy O'Neil on December 14, 2010

For soda, the genie is out of the bottle

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-made, ripe, local — to ice cream sodas, sundaes and egg creams. In the process, they have unearthed forgotten, delicious and possibly risky flavors like sassafras, phosphoric acid and teaberry, and have brought back taste combinations worthy of the most avant-garde chefs. Read More at the New York Times

Acid Test

One of the most unequivocal laws of the Boston shaker set is clear: There can be no sour without citrus. But thanks to the new ingredient, acid phosphate, bartenders can throw out that rule book. Read More at the Tasting Table

Phosphate With a Twist

Neither, it turns out, did Darcy O’Neil, a chemist and bartender with an interest in historic drink. Someone asked him a few years ago what he knew about antique soft drinks. Not much, he realized. So he started digging through old texts and handbooks. In the process, he discovered the surprisingly complex ecosystem of the early soda fountain—Read More at the Atlantic

Tempting Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Giving up alcohol for Lent? That doesn’t mean you have to go without good drinks. Read More at

Shaken, not stirred

An interview with Chemistry World about science and cocktails. "A few years back, Darcy O'Neil was tending the bar at a Canadian fine dining restaurant called Mint in London, Western Ontario. Sometimes, when the bar was quiet, he found himself chatting to customers - about this and that, but often about the drinks. It was the cocktail menu that really piqued their interest. What's in this one? How do you make that foam? Why shaken, not stirred? They weren't expecting scientific answers by any means, but that's what they got, because it was to his first love - chemistry - that O'Neil returned to satisfy their curiosity." Read More

Will the Real Mai Tai Please Stand Up?

"Churning the underworld of online recipes for “real” orgeat predictably reveals many that seem to closely mimic Thomas’s, including a much-cited version by Darcy O’Neil on his engagingly cranky Web site The Art of Drink." Read More

Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC (Sept-17-2010)

Ever since Joseph Priestly discovered how to "impregnate water with fixed air" in the 18th century, carbonated beverages have been ubiquitous. Sodas have been used to cure diseases, fight alcoholism, and spread American culture around the globe. On this week's Please Explain, we’ll find out what soda is, what’s in it, and when it became so popular. Listen to the Interview

Cannabis in Our Cocktails (Sept-03-2010)

If someone told you about a bar openly serving cocaine over the counter, chances are you wouldn't think soda jerks and pop. However, writer and bartender Darcy O'Neil, in his book on soda fountains, Fix the Pumps, tells the story of pharmacists making "narc-tails" full of "cocaine, strychnine, cannabis, morphine, opium, heroine, and other neurochemicals."
Read more: The Atlantic

Darcy O'Neil reveals the soda fountain's curious history.(March-28-2010)

Last year, New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian asked Darcy O'Neil, a Canadian scientist turned mixologist, a question about the chemistry of a soda fountain ingredient.

Darcy O'Neil's "Fix the Pumps," a history of the American soda fountain. "I don't think I'd ever been to a soda fountain," said O'Neil.

That query, though, led him to unearth long forgotten recipes for malts, colas and phosphates buried in antique pharmacy manuals. The electronic book "Fix the Pumps," a lively history of soda fountain culture, is the result of that research. (The title has nothing to do with flood prevention. It's soda jerk code to check out the chest of a female customer.) Read Moe @

Sweetening Drinks Can be a Science (Jan-10-2010)

"O'Neil has researched the science of sugar and its effects on taste and aroma in cocktails. One useful find was that aroma alters the perception of sweetness. "Certain things like rose flower or orange flower water or juniper, when you add them to something sweet, it makes them taste less sweet. But when you add banana and caramel, it increases the sense of sweetness, even though there is no change in the sugar level," he says."
Read more: AoD Media Link Interview (April 2009):

Read More

Darcy O'Neil will explore ancient drinks at Tales of the Cocktail (2009)

Full interview is available at

Service skills on the rocks

By Gaz Regan :: Cocktails are so very hot in 2006, and as I pondered this recently I began to wonder if we're starting to forget about the bartender's primary job--catering to customers' needs and wants. Read More

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