detroit inspiration

May has been a busy month of being away from home. Although it’s been almost two weeks since my last post, I’ve found myself inspired by the foods, friends and settings with which I’ve been surrounded. It’s finding the time to capture and organize all of my thoughts that’s been the challenge.  

After ten days in SoCal, I turned around and got on a flight to Detroit for five days of exploration. Today is my last day here in Detroit. My husband needed to come here for work, so I jumped at the chance to tag along. The Detroit area holds a lot of memories for me. My mom grew up about 45 minutes outside of the city, my grandfather worked for GM his entire career, and I used to spend many summers at my aunt and uncle’s house on the lake during my childhood.

To this day, I haven’t experienced a sweeter, more flavorful tomato than one grown in Michigan. I have a theory that nightshade plants, such as tomatoes, taste better in climates where it stays warm at night. Nothing against fancy heirlooms, but a run of the mill Beefsteak tomato grown in Michigan is hands down tastier than anything touting to be a heirloom variety. I was hoping to relive my favorite lakeside summer meal: a tomato, cucumber and mayo sandwich during my visit, but it’s a bit too early in the season for tomatoes and I wasn’t ready to be disappointed.

So instead of tomatoes, I sought out Detroit’s own Vernors ginger ale. I didn’t have to go far, Vernors is everywhere in this city. There’s something about the flavor that’s a bit different from Schweppes, Canada Dry, or any of the small batch ginger ales on the market. Maybe it’s because Vernors is barrel aged. Maybe it’s because Vernors is the oldest surviving ginger ale in the nation. Maybe it’s just like all the other ginger ales and I’m suffering from soda nostalgia.


Regardless whether it’s nostalgia on my part, or Vernors really is the best ginger ale on the planet, I have been taking part in consuming Vernors during my stay in Detroit. I experienced a Vernors Slurpee at 7-Eleven and a Boston Cooler at Mootown.  Despite the name, a Boston Cooler is a Detroit original. Highly recommended on a warm day.

My kitchen notes:

Vernors is now owned by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, which means it’s probably available in many states.

Play around with the ice cream to Vernors ratio depending on whether you prefer a more subtle ginger ale or vanilla flavor.

The name Boston Cooler is not taken from Boston, Massachusetts,  but from an establishment on Boston Boulevard in Detroit, where it is said to have been invented.

Boston Cooler 

Vanilla ice cream

Vernors ginger ale

1. Fill a glass two-thirds of the way with ginger ale.

2. Roll two scoops of ice cream and drop it gently into the glass.

3. Fill the glass to the top with more ginger ale. You want to bring the ice cream above the glass so that it floats.

4. Use a spoon or a straw and enjoy Detroit’s original creamy ginger ale float.


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