Snapshot: Boston Cooler

I just back from a road trip to Dearborn, MI; I have friends that live there, and they introduced me to a local “historic foodway” (their words) called the Boston Cooler.  The Cooler is an ice cream float made specifically with vanilla ice cream and Vernors ginger ale.

“The now-familiar “Boston Cooler” of ginger ale and ice cream was cited in the 1920 Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, described as ‘well known’ and a ‘favorite of the golf links.’ Vernors ginger ale was first made in Detroit in the mid-1800s and is one of America’s oldest soft drinks. Detroit’s Boston Boulevard is near Vernors, and it is claimed that this is the origin of the ‘Boston’ in ‘Boston Cooler.'(The Big Apple)”

Despite the Cleveland connection, I had never heard of a Boston Cooler until my recent venture into Michigan, where it is still popular.  And still damn tasty.

3 Responses to “Snapshot: Boston Cooler”


  • Hi. I work at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden in Manhattan and the staff here are huge fans of your blog! We love all things historic and food related and your blog is just perfect. (And we can read it while at work!)
    We would love to give you a tour of the museum anytime. Just let me know! Thanks!

  • I love Boston Coolers! We made the mistake of ordering one once in Boston, not realizing it was a local treat!
    “Can I have a Boston Cooler, please?”
    “What’s a Boston Cooler?”
    “It’s vernors and ice cream.”
    “What’s vernors?”
    “Nevermind.”

  • I grew up in Cleveland and we used to have what my parent’s called “Boston Coolers” many summer nights – but though I love Vernor’s still (can’t get it in Boston where I now live) OUR “Boston Cooler’s” were always vanilla ice cream with Hires Root Beer. We had special cups, and plastic straw/spoons. I don’t know where my parent’s got the name Boston Cooler for that recipe, but we still make them. I guess we’re just making root beer floats. . . .

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