In the city where Fred Sanders is credited with inventing the ice cream soda, pharmacist and founder of America’s oldest soft drink, James Vernor, took it one step further with the Boston Cooler. Originally a mixture of sweet cream and spicy, tickle-your-nose Vernor’s ginger soda, the drink eventually morphed into a thick, vanilla ice cream-based blended shake that is still available at Detroit-area Dairy Queens and independent ice cream parlors.
Vernor operated a drug store and soda fountain on Woodward Avenue near what is now known as the Boston-Edison historic district, the main thoroughfare being Boston Boulevard, hence the seemingly disconnected name. Though houses weren’t built and occupied in the area until the early 1900s, the mixture of vanilla ice cream and Vernor’s ginger soda was popular as far back as 1880.
As the name suggests, a Boston Cooler is fantastic on a hot summer day when you might want the weight of plain ice cream balanced out with the mild heat of ginger soda. But it’s plenty good enough as a year round treat. Enjoy one with another Detroit original named for somewhere else – the Coney Island hot dog.Share: