A Tribute to Woody (Homemade Ginger Ale Float)

By • May 31, 2011 • 130 Comments

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Author Notes: Vernors Ginger Ale is a Michigan icon ... sweet, gingery, fizzy. It's a golden ginger ale as opposed to a "dry" one and makes the claim of being the oldest surviving ginger ale in the country. Slogans have included "Detroit's Drink", "Deliciously Different" "Barrel Aged, Bold Taste, and "It's what we drink around here". I'm not sure if it's readily available all over the country, but if it is, try it. Served cold, it's refreshing, served hot, it's good for what ails you. Make a shake or float with it ... but if you can't find it, here's a recipe for the ginger syrup and the shake or float. Oh, by the way, "Woody" is the gnome that appears on the can or bottle. - inpatskitcheninpatskitchen

Food52 Review: In any form, ice cream floats are a delightfully lazy route to a happy summer. Here, with one extra step, you get a kicky homemade ginger syrup, lifted by seltzer and bear-hugged by slow-melting vanilla ice cream. It's a fitting ode to a proud Michigan soda pop tradition, made with a handful of ingredients you probably have socked away in your kitchen -- your hot, sticky kitchen. Best go make yourself a float. - A&MA&M

Serves 2

For the ginger syrup

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Combine all ingredients except the vanilla in a saucepan. bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes until reduced to one cup liquid.
  2. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and cool and strain.

For the float or shake

  • 6 large scoops great quality vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup of the ginger syrup
  • 3 cups sparkling seltzer water
  1. For a shake: place the ice cream, syrup and seltzer in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 tall glasses and grab some straws.
  2. For a float: place three scoops of the ice cream in each of the 2 tall glasses. Mix the syrup with the seltzer and then pour half over each ice cream filled glass. This time grab the straws and a long spoon!
Jump to Comments (130)

Tags: creamy, delicious, sweet

Comments (130) Questions (2)

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about 1 month ago tommy g

Does anyone remember Vernor's ice cream bars? I used to buy them in the showroom of the bottling plant on Woodward Avenue back in the early '70s. They were available in a vending machine for ten cents and, to my knowledge, nowhere else. As I recall, the bar was Vernor's-flavored ice cream with a butterscotch coating. Delicious.

Stringio

6 months ago Stephanie

I had a late dinner tonight so I decided to make this for a later night snack. It taste really good. I don't like things that are too sweet so this is good for me. I used 1/4 raw sugar instead of white sugar. Paired it with SoDelicious Frozen Coconut Milk and a few banana slices...yummy! Oh, I forget the seltzer water but I don't think it made a big difference.

Dscn3274

6 months ago inpatskitchen

Stephanie..So happy you enjoyed your version...thanks so much!

Stringio

8 months ago Misty Terrell Green

I have lived in Indiana my whole life & for some reason, we always had Vernor's Ginger Ale. Michigan relatives maybe. I love, love, love that stuff. Def. can still get it here.

Dscn3274

8 months ago inpatskitchen

So glad that you can make the float anytime you want! And welcome to Food52!

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10 months ago frog

Verner's is currently owned by Dr Pepper Snapple and the recipe has changed. It now has high fructose corn syrup and artificial ginger flavoring. reed's Ginger Beer would be closer, though not as sweet, to the original Verner's Ginger Ale.

Stringio

30 days ago Jim Barstad

I like the Canada Dry Ginger Ale.

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10 months ago susielou

I grew up in Detroit and went to James Vernor Elementary School; every Christmas and Easter there were huge kegs of Vernors, and all kids were given a glass. The best tour ever was of the Vernor plant, and watching all the bottles go by. At the end of the tour we were given Vernor's ice cream floats. Wonderful!

By the way, another drink from childhood is the brown cow: chocolate ice cream and root beer.

Dscn3274

10 months ago inpatskitchen

So happy that this brought back wonderful memories for you! I too, remember touring the Vernor's plant as a kid. And Vernors is in the shopping cart almost every week!

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over 1 year ago Trena

inpatskitchen you have done it again - This is AMAZING! Simple to make and soooo worth it. You hooked me on your recipes with your delicious fish sandwich and when I saw this was your recipe, I knew I had to give it a try. Thankfully, I doubled the recipe. You obviously love cooking and your recipes really show it. Thanks again for another keeper!

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over 1 year ago inpatskitchen

I'm thrilled you enjoyed this! Thanks so much!

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over 1 year ago Lizthechef

I remember this recipe very well. I'm a ginger ale freak and this rocks.

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over 1 year ago inpatskitchen

Thanks Liz! I must agree...it does "rock"!!

Stringio

over 1 year ago Joanna Bober

I've tried SO many recipes for ginger ale. This is by far the BEST! It was quick and easy, and the end result was nothing short of delicious.

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over 1 year ago inpatskitchen

Thanks so much Joanna! It really is easy and I'm so happy you enjoyed!

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over 1 year ago sofia j. jacobsen

Ginger ale from scratch?? Guess it's possible but I still stand by my favorite VERNERS!!!

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over 1 year ago inpatskitchen

Oh me too sofia. But there are many who can't get Vernors where they live and this is a pretty good "clone"!

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over 2 years ago 80jones

This was delish on a hot summer day. I'm thinking the ginger syrup would make a good general purpose mixer.

Dscn3274

over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

I'm sooo glad you enjoyed this and actually a while back the Food52 people had a cocktail party and used the syrup for Moscow Mules. Their recipe is at the end of the article here:
http://www.food52.com/blog...

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about 3 years ago everblessed

Just made the syrup tonight and my house smells heavenly. Can't wait to mix it tomorrow. Thank you for the recipe!!!

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almost 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you so much everblessed...so sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I'm still not getting notifications or comments through e-mail. I hope you enjoyed!! ( I was just here to get my recipe too(LOL)

Dscn3274

almost 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you so much everblessed...so sorry I didn't respond sooner, but I'm still not getting notifications or comments through e-mail. I hope you enjoyed!! ( I was just here to get my recipe too(LOL)

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over 3 years ago Sue D

Tried this recipe about a month ago and have been dreaming of making more ever since. This wonderful recipe is simple, refreshing and fantistically bright tasting. I can never again sip commercially available genger ale, this recipe ended that practice. My experience of making and enjoying this amazing beverage was a satisfying adventure!

Dscn3274

over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

I'm so glad you enjoyed Sue D....it's really a hit at our house ( I'm into simple and easy!)

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over 3 years ago sboulton

I'm from Detroit and remember countless trips to the Vernor's Plant on Woodward, with its gleaming copper kettles in the window. The canned stuff they sell now in California doesn't even resemble the original. It was the best, especially when you were sick and Mom made a "Boston Cooler" . Thanks for this, it brings back those wonderful flavors.

Dscn3274

over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you sboulton! The new concoction isn't as "fizzy" as it once was, I know, but the flavor is still classic!

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over 3 years ago liamoran

This was so amazing. I made it earlier in the week and will make the syrup for a non-alcolic option for my summer dinner party tomorrow! Love it. Good job and congratulations!

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over 3 years ago liamoran

I meant "non-alcoholic". I got so excited about your ginger ale I couldn't type. :)

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over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you so much liamoran!! It really is a great treat!

Steve_dunn02

over 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Congratulations! This looks so dang good, can't wait to try it with the kids....I'll be their hero with this recipe! - S

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over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you so much "Super Dad!" They will love it!

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Congrats! Really happy for your win!!

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over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you ChezSuzanne!

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over 3 years ago nicci

Congratulations!! I LOVE Vernor's. They don't have it in Hawaii but they should!

Dscn3274

over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you...at least now you can make something similar!

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

It's on for tonight in a tribute to your win! Congrats!

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over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks wssmom...let me know

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

You know I was sooooo remiss in not letting you know how AWESOME it was! We did the float thing, and everyone raved.

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over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Oh Thank you wssmom...I'm so glad everyone enjoyed!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congrats on a well deserved win! If I weren't on the road, I would be making one of these for myself tonight!

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over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks fiveandspice! I might make one myself!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh you definitely should! Gotta celebrate!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Cheers and congrats!

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over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Thank you so much gingerroot!!