Posted by: Kath Usitalo | March 13, 2013

Celebrate Vernors on 313

Vernors + Vanilla ice cream=Boston Cooler

Vernors + Vanilla ice cream=Boston Cooler

This post originally ran in March 2011, recognizing the inaugural National Vernors Day. March 13 was selected because it matches the area code of the city where the ginger ale drink was first concocted  in the  Civil War era.

A post by a fan on the Facebook page for Detroit’s own Vernors proclaims: “Even our soft drinks have an attitude.”

Though I suspect that FB poster is a transplant because he used the term “soft drink” (in Detroit we drink “pop”) anyone who’s tried Vernors knows that this Ginger Ale doesn’t have anything in common with the pale “dry” stuff used as a highball mixer.

The caramel colored carbonated beverage is in a glass of its own—more bubbles, more ginger flavor, sweeter—and did I mention the bubbles that leap from the glass to tickle your nose as you drink it, and tingle all the way down?

Woody the Vernors Gnome peers over a display of the ginger ale and rival Faygo pop at Pure Detroit shop in the Guardian Building

It’s ”Deliciously Different,” as Detroit pharmacist James Vernor claimed when he concocted the blend of 19 ingredients in an oak cask in 1866.

That’s right. Detroiters have been sipping Vernors since the Civil War era.

Legend has it that Vernor mixed a batch of the beverage in 1862, marched off to war, and on his return found a four-year-aged bubbly drink like no other.

It became so popular that Vernor left his Woodward Avenue pharmacy to open a soda fountain shop and concentrate on making the pop.

Vernors devotees drink it straight up, on the rocks, and warmed, to chase the chills. I understand it goes well with Captain Morgan’s Rum.

Vernors Ham and Vernors Spice Cake have their fans. Would probably make a good foot bath, too (all that bubble action).

Then there’s the mystery of the Boston Cooler. The soda fountain treat, Vernors poured over vanilla ice cream, is a Detroit original but someone named the float after a city where the pop has never been sold.

Vernors, now a brand of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. has a dedicated following. In 2011 the folks behind Michigan Expats founded National Vernors Day on March 13.

That’s 313. For Detroit’s area code. Get it?

Buy a bottle or a case of Vernors (somewhere along the line the apostrophe fell off) and enjoy this taste of Detroit your way. With a side of attitude.

Vernors reproduction sign and magnets at Henry Ford Museum shop, Dearborn

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