Vernors Ginger Ale and Why You Want it for Thanksgiving

Vernors Ginger Ale

Vernors Ginger Ale (originally Vernor’s)  is a highly effervescent soda pop. It has a bold ginger flavor and notes of vanilla. Originally a product of Detroit, it’s now a part of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.  Vernors was named Serious Eats “Best Ginger Ale” in 2014, it’s unique flavor helping spread its popularity. Nevertheless, it retains a devoted Great Lakes following. In fact in Michigan households, it is ubiquitous as a beverage, ingredient and a remedy.

Vernors Ginger Ale History

According to the Detroit Free Press, James Vernor studied pharmacy and received the first license to practice in the state of Michigan. Trying to mimic Irish ginger ales, he began experimenting with ginger syrups before being called up for the Civil War. Although lore has it that he returned home and found the beverage improved by four years of storage in oak casks, family members think he came up with the idea, then tried it when he returned home. In either case, he created one of the first soft drinks. Originally sold only at the Vernor’s Pharmacy soda fountain,  James applied for a patent in 1911 for the soda that he’d been selling since 1880. Eventually, he got out of the pharmacy business, and focused solely on the ginger ale he described as “deliciously different.”

Vernors Ginger Ale At Thanksgiving
Iced Vernors Ginger Ale

Vernors  Ginger Ale at Thanksgiving

I’ve always loved Vernors, referred to as pop in my home state of Michigan. Like Coca-Cola, it has a bold taste and lots of bubbles. Imagine a mildly gingery flavored cream soda, rather than a traditional dry ginger ale. I find Vernors the perfect accompaniment for a heavy meal like Thanksgiving because It’s carbonation and ginger properties naturally aid digestion. The ginger flavor also blends well with the other holiday spices

Family Punch Recipe

My mother was not a pop drinker. Nevertheless, as a native of Michigan, her holiday punch recipe contains Vernors. A simple formula, it combines equal parts orange juice, cranberry juice, and Vernors ginger ale. Simply pour the ingredients into a punch bowl over ice. An uncomplicated task, it’s a perfect way to get children to help prepare for company. I should know, it was my job.

Black Cow Ice Cream Soda
Black Cow

Vernors Ginger Ale Desserts

The most famous Vernors dessert is a Boston Cooler. Named after a Detroit street, it’s similar to a root beer float,  it’s Vernors poured over two scoops of vanilla ice cream. There are many variations of this treat. The chocolate version is called a Black Cow and substitutes chocolate ice cream for vanilla. My father actually preferred his ice cream drinks as a frappe. His signature dessert drink blended the ice cream and ginger ale, with a tablespoon or two of creme de cocoa. Another more adult version, adds a jigger of rum, whiskey or vanilla vodka to the mix. There are even Vernors cake and cupcake recipes, although I’ve never tried them.

Vernors Soda Pop
Vernors “Deliciously Different” Soda Pop


Ginger is considered both a stomachache and nausea remedy. Here are the three medicinal reasons I turn to Vernors. When I have indigestion I find the intense carbonation an excellent tonic. For a stomachache, I find sipping the flattened ginger pop soothing. Finally, the most surprising way I use the drink is to relieve the symptoms of a sore throat or laryngitis. I warm the pop in the microwave and add a tablespoon or two of lemon juice.

Other Unique Products

For other great product ideas, read my articles about Spark Syrup for vinaigrette and holiday cocktails, and Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauces and Spice House spice blends for easy oven baked ribs.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ellen Rancilio says:

    Great article my fellow Detroiter !
    Vernors will be served at our Thanksgiving Dinner !

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