Orange Julius

One of the most famous stories in the history of franchising.

In 1926, Julius Freed opened an orange juice stand in Los Angeles. It did a modest trade until 1929, when his friend and real estate broker Bill Hamlin came up with a recipe for a drink that his stomach liked a bit better than acidic orange juice. Soon, the Orange Julius and its secret recipe took the nation by storm.

A report on the franchising appeared in O.O. McIntyre’s syndicated column on June 20, 1930–this is from the Logansport (Indiana) Pharos Tribune:


New York Day by Day
By O. O. McIntyre

[Excerpt.]

New York has sponsored several orange juice stand nabobs but the latest is “Orange Julius” who lochinvarred out of the West with an orange drink fashioned in the manner of a milk shake. His hutch employing 12 mixers at Broadway and 46th street is often several rows deep with thirsty boulevardiers. He has been offered a cool million for his formula for a cool drink but spurns it. Wall street has become interested in the orange drink profits and one financial house is to sponsor a chain of stands dotting every town of 5,000 or over in the United States.

Mmph. McIntyre was known for his quirky language, but he went right in to Dennis Miller territory with “lochinvarred.” He’s referring to Lochinvar, the protagonist of the 1808 ballad “Marmion” by Sir Walter Scott.

(Click here to expand an explanation of the reference to Lochinvar.)

In context:

Oh, young Lochinvar is come out of the West
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none,
He rode all unarm’d, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

— Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto V, XII.

It’s sort of clever in that Julius Freed came out of the West, and of all the orange drink stands, his was the best, and save his good recipe, he weapons had none. But a reference to a then-122-year-old Scottish literary ballad? I’m sure all six of the people who understood it thought McIntyre was very clever.

You probably do know at least a little of this poem, though–a bit from Canto VI, XVII: O what a tangled web we weave, / When first we practice to deceive!

And franchise they did. News of an Orange Julius franchise opening made the front page of the September 3, 1931 edition of the Kerrville (Texas) Daily Times:

“Orange Julius”, Wonder Drink to Be Served HereJimmie Rodgers, franchise holder, and J.E. Koon, manager, announce that “Orange Julius,” a devilish good drink, will be served in Kerrville for the first time, Thursday, Sept. 3, at 7 a.m.

A space, formerly part of the Guadalupe Cafe, has been equipped for serving the wonder drink and business will begin early Thursday morning.

The Julius drinks to be served are orange, lemon, lime, grape fruit and others. They are made on the Sunkist extractor from fresh fruit, right before your eyes.

Orange Julius has proved a popular drink wherever served and Kerrville people will not [typo for now, presumably] have a chance to learn how good it is.

So all of that excitement aside, is this the real recipe? Well, maybe. Most early sources agree the original recipe had egg in it, and if you look at the allergens on the modern site, it lists both egg and milk.

But when the secret recipe started to emerge in the 1970s, eating raw eggs was out of fashion. Now we have both a better sense of how small the risks are and pasteurized eggs.

From the box of F.J. from Sun City, Arizona. Some cards suggest a family history in Missouri and Kansas.

Orange Julius

1 can frozen orange juice
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
10 to 12 ice cubes

Blend in blender.

Recipe from the kitchen of Lola Kafka.



One Comment

  1. likalaruku

    Where’s the egg?

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