There are plenty of ginger ale brands on the market, but there truly is only one Vernors, “the original ginger soda”. Its unique flavor, described by some as a mix of ginger ale and cream soda, may not appeal to everyone but that sure hasn’t stopped Vernors from remaining popular with its faithful fans for over 150 years.
Vernors, along with Hires root beer, is one of the oldest carbonated soft drinks in existence. And, it might never have been created at all, had it not been for the civil war. Printed on every bottle is the story of James Vernor, a Detroit pharmacist who was experimenting with various forms of soft drinks. One of his concoctions consisted of a mixture of 19 ingredients that he stored in an oak cask. Then the Civil War erupted and, in 1862, James left his beverage behind as he went to dutifully serve his country. When he returned four years later, he popped open the keg and was delighted to find that the aging process had given his beverage a flavor that was “deliciously different”, a slogan that the beverage would continue to carry for many years thereafter.
For many years, Vernors was difficult to find outside of Michigan. In recent years, however, it has been distributed throughout the country and can be found in many grocery stores, allowing people across the nation to finally get a taste of this amber-colored (and highly carbonated) beverage, with an aftertaste that is truly divine.
If Vernors hasn’t yet crossed your path, you owe it to yourself to keep an eye out the next time you are strolling through the beverage aisle of your local store. You might even want to indulge in a “Boston Cooler”, a dessert popular in Detroit that consists of a frosty mug of Vernors with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. One taste and you may never go back to regular old ginger ale ever again.
If you are one of faithful fans of this deliciously different soft drink, we welcome your memories in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this century-old carbonated beverage.