If Detroit food and drink had gods and goddesses like the ancient Greeks, Vernors – depicted by the iconic gnome – would be one of the top deities.
This week is the 150th anniversary of the bubbly concoction, first created in 1866. And it’s as good of an excuse as any to party!
Thanks to the Detroit Historical Society, the Vernor’s Ginger Ale Collectors Club, and others – here’s a guide to what’s up this week around town. Oh, and don’t forget to look for buildings lit up in the signature green and yellow from Vernors such as the large electronic sign on Cobo Hall and the Detroit Opera House.
Tuesday, June 7 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Broderick Grill (1570 Woodward in Detroit) there’s a Vernor’s Pop-Up Soda Fountain. The soda fountain was quite the thing back in the day, and you’ll probably see one of us belly up to the bar on this one. There will have the Vernors Float, Boston Cooler, or flavored Vernors. Proceeds go toward the purchase of a historical marker that the Vernor’s Ginger Ale Collectors Club is trying to make happen downtown. There’s a GoFundMe for the project here.
Also starting Tuesday and running through the weekend, the Detroit Historical Museum will have a special Vernors exhibition running with rarely seen artifacts. It’s on the lower level, and admission is free.
Restaurants getting into the bubbly spirit
Throughout the week various restaurants around town will have special Vernors menu items or drinks. The participating restaurants are below, with insight to what they’re serving if we have it.
- Parks and Rec
- Cass Cafe
- Huron Room
- Broderick Grille
- Union Street
- Batch Brewing will have a Ginger Beer
- Mercury Burger Bar is doing Boston Coolers
- La Feria Spanish Tapas has an inspired Vernor’s 43 cocktail (Vernor’s, Licor 43, lime juice)
- The Block
- Ottava Via is rolling out a Ginger Amaro cocktail (Vernor’s, two types of Amaro, two types of bitters)
- Coach Insignia
- Top of the Pontch at the Crowne Plaza
- State Bar and Grill (open 6/5, 6/6, 6/7 and 6/8) – Motown Mule (Vernor’s, Vodka, Lime)
- Casablanca Lounge
Also, according to the Collector’s Club, some CVS stores downtown will have special Vernor’s 150th Anniversary displays. Specifically, the CVS at 350 East Warren will have a special chance to win custom Vernor’s items. There will be the chance to win prizes like a Vernor’s bike, a stuffed Gnome doll, and a 150th Anniversary hat.
Saturday, June 11 is the Vernors 150th Anniversary Party
There will be a Vernors 150th Anniversary Party at the Detroit Historical Museum, with a ton of activities.
There will be a Vernors-themed poker run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – which is actually a kind of scavenger hunt where at each site you take a selfie a(with the Vernor’s item in the background) to receive a card at the museum. You’ll then win prizes based on how good the hand of poker is that you collected. Obviously, the more you visit, the better the prizes.
Also at the museum:
- A screening of Detroit Remember When: Made in the Motor City at 11 a.m. A chat with filmmaker Bill Kubota will follow the film.
- The Vernors Gnome live and in-person, signing autographs from noon to 5 p.m.
- A Vernors history presentation from 1 to 2 p.m.
- A book signing for Vernor’s Ginger Ale by author Keith Wunderlich at 2 p.m.
- A presentation on James Vernor in MOLLUS (Civil War Legion) from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.
- A toast by James Vernor V and James Vernor VI, great-great-grandson and great-great-great grandson of James Vernor at 4 p.m.
- A world record attempt for the most Vernors drinkers at 4:30 p.m.
- Also, Vernors floats, cream ales and Boston Coolers will be for sale at the museum from noon to 4 p.m.