Beat the Heat with a Boston Cooler! Ever Heard of Michigan’s Signature Drink?
I have something to admit: I was today years old when I learned what a "Boston Cooler" was.
Despite having been born and raised in West Michigan I have never heard of this drink before now. And I have some questions! Am I the only one that's confused as to why a New England-named drink is considered a Michigan staple?
Original Boston Cooler
Thought to have originated on the east coast, according to All Recipes the term "Boston Cooler" originally meant a variety of concoctions ranging from a mix of sarsaparilla and ginger ale, to a scoop of ice cream inside half a melon. Weird, right?
Over time a "Boston Cooler" came to mean any combination of soda and ice cream. However, because these concoctions were served at local soda fountains and pharmacies, and with Vernors being associated with health and soothing stomach aches at the time-- eventually Boston Coolers became practically synonymous with Vernors.
However, there are differing theories that credit Detroit man Fred Sanders, who owned one of Detroit's first ice cream shops, with first introducing the soda and ice cream combination to the Detroit area in the 1800s. If this actually were the case and Sanders did whip up this concoction himself, it seems only natural that his Detroit-based store would use a Detroit-made soda: Vernors.
Though I'm not sure the ice cream bar ever saw the light of day, the trademark tied Vernors and the Boston Cooler in our hearts and stomachs forever.