Imagine how boring the world would be if ice cream only came in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Sure, people would still eat the stuff by the bucketful because a summer’s day just wouldn’t be the same without a few drips of ice cream running down your arm. But, as they say, variety is the spice of life. And for a little over 60 years, Baskin-Robbins has been providing that spice to the tune of 31 scrumptious flavors of ice cream, all ready to be sampled from a little pink spoon.
Brother-in-laws, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins, had each tried their hands at selling ice cream in the 1940’s but it wasn’t until they joined forces that their little venture really took off. By 1968, they had six stores; a year later, they had 40. At the time, competitor Howard Johnson’s offered 28 flavors. Undaunted, the brothers decided they would offer a whopping 31 flavors, “one for each day of the month.” They also felt that with so many flavors available, the customer should have an opportunity to find their favorite flavor without going broke. The concept of free samples from a little pink spoon was born.
While Baskin-Robbins offers 31 flavors at any given time, their catalog of flavor recipes contains well over a thousand. Many were introduced to commemorate special events. When the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in the late 50’s, Baskin-Robbins introduced the flavor “Baseball Nut.” In the mid-60’s, the British invasion was commemorated with “Beatle Nut”. “Lunar Cheesecake” and “Astronut” followed the first landing on the moon (but only after the astronauts safely returned to earth.) Always the innovators, recent additions have included such flavors as: “Shrek Swirl,” “Miami Ice” and “Cappuccino Blast.”
Today, Baskin-Robbins boasts a remarkable 5,600 ice cream stores, in locales as far away as Australia, Iran, Thailand and India. The founders sold the company in 1967, and it is now owned by Dunkin’ Brands, which also owns Dunkin’ Donuts and Togo’s Sandwiches.
But, back in the day, it was just two ice cream lovers and a palette of flavors sure to please just about anyone’s taste buds. Baskin-Robbins was the place to go after a little league baseball game, after receiving an A on the report card, or simply because the weather outside was too darn hot to do much else other than enjoy a soothing scoop of ice cream. And with 31 flavors, everyone was sure to leave with a sticky smile on his or her face.
Is there a favorite Baskin-Robbins flavor from your childhood that you wish was still around? Share all your memories of this ice cream institution with us in our comments section.