In My Pantry: Diet Vernors

Do you have a favorite soft drink? I sure do, but I’m hard-pressed to name just one favorite. But right at the top of that list (which also includes a very prominent place for Coke Zero Vanilla) has to be Vernors.

I can’t remember when I had my first Vernors. I think it might of been at my rich uncle’s house. You know, the rich uncle every one seems to have. The guy with the lakehouse who wears Tommy Bahama shirts and plays Frank Sinatra music into the wee hours of the morning. Wait, that was just my uncle? Either way, sometime during my prepubescent years I downed my first Vernors at my uncle’s, probably thinking I was sophisticated and elite by drinking a soda that I’d never heard of.

It’s hard to find the midwestern drink these days, but recently I snagged a few at a local grocery store. I hadn’t had one in years, but the taste remained just as scintillating – and tough to describe – as I remember from my youthful days spent at my uncle’s. Diet Vernors isn’t really a diet ginger ale – it’s more like a pronounced ginger soda mixed with the sharpness and bitterness of diet coke, cut my the bubbles of tonic water, and bolstered by a vanilla flavor a hints of, oddly enough, orange or grape soda. If you’ve never had Vernors it’s hard to describe, but it is different, and it is distinct. I guess it’s one of those love-it or hate-it flavors, and in my case, I absolutely love it. It’s the only soda I’ve ever had that really tastes “spicy” to the extent that a soda can taste spicy (ginger, people, ginger) but it’s fruity backtaste, which almost border on an aroma (an element of taste, you know) is what gets me.

You know, we don’t devote much time to beverages on GrubGrade, but I think this reminder could warrant a change. Not only can the perfect beverage be the ideal complement to any great meal, but they also serve as a great reminder of different flavors and tastes from days gone by. So I want to know: any other Vernors fans out there? What is your favorite regional beverage? And would you like to see us review more beverages on GrubGrade?

21 comments on “In My Pantry: Diet Vernors

  1. Ryan says:

    Jack and Ginger with Vernors was a mistake… but straight up, I’m a fan.

  2. Ryan says:

    p.s. I have no rich uncle with a lakehouse. :(

  3. Josh says:

    …a favorite picture of Grubgrade FYI…pick your poison from here…although Melon Fanta TOPS the list…
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/josh_macphotos/3781766049/sizes/o/

  4. Rachel says:

    Vernors ALWAYS makes me cough when I take the first sip!!!! It’s the bubbles … no other drinks do that to me.

    That said, it’s a grown up ginger ale. I never liked the taste when I was a kid, but now that I’m older and more mature (ha) I enjoy it.

  5. Tom says:

    I only recently had Vernors as I’m from New York, but I was out in Michigan not too long ago, and I fell in love with it. If it didn’t cost so much online, I’d be ordering pallets of it.

  6. Chefprotoss or dan says:

    Damnit! This sounds delicious and I don’t feel like ordering soda off of amazon. Thanks for teasing me adam.=P

    Btw, squirt is the greatest beverage ever. I just wish it was easier to find in the DC area. It’s not impossible though.

  7. Ryan says:

    Forgot to mention my favorite soft drink…

    Cheerwine!

    close second, Cherry Coke from the fountain

  8. Natalie says:

    My rich uncle has a mountain house, but I’ve never been.

    Coca-cola classic will always be my favorite soda, though I drink diet more often since I like not looking like a whale. I’ll occasionally get a bottle of RC Cola though, my granny had it at her house normally so the taste reminds me of being a kid.

    Ginger ale is necessary whenever I’m sick. Even if it’s just a cold and has nothing to do with my stomach, I love me some ginger ale..not picky about the brand.

    God, I love soda. Anyone else been to the World of Coke museum in Atlanta? Favorite place ever when I was young.

  9. Bensly says:

    A favorite soft drink really depends on what is going on.

    If it is hot outside, for whatever reason Sprite really quenches the thirst. If I am enjoying some pizza, CocaCola is required even though I am more a fan of Pepsi. Italian foods require me to have milk.

    I think most of my drink oddities go back to childhood. I don’t know. If I had to pick my favorite soft drink though… Tahitian Treat. It is the BEST fruit punch flavored soft drink you will ever find. There have been many times where I would buy a 12pack of the stuff just so that people who have never had it can enjoy a can.

  10. Sandy says:

    Love Vernors ginger ale. Grew up outside of Detroit so it was a staple in our house. Also, love Fresca and Tab, guess I’m a 70’s throwback kinda chick.

  11. Murray says:

    My rich uncle has a lake house, but I don’t remember any particular drink there. However, I do have fond memories of having a can of 7UP at my grandparents cabin.

    Other favorites of mine: Fresca (probably just becuase of the Caddyshack reference…it’s just fun to say: “How ’bout a Fresca”), Squirt (I’m with you CPT or Dan), Cherry Coke, Grape Fanta, Black Cherry Dr. Pepper.

    My girlfriend recently played host to some businessmen from Poland. They were overwhelmed by the amount of pop (remember I’m from MN) we drink. A few things that amazed them: The size of a small pop at fast food joints, the fact that you could get free refills, the fact that people drink an entire large pop and then refill their cup before leaving the resturant, how buzzed they got off Dr. Pepper, and how good Mt. Dew was here (apparently, they dumb it down in Europe).

  12. somesteve says:

    Haven’t had Vernor’s yet, but its on my list after reading this. regional beverage? Adirondack black cherry soda. . More beverage reviews! More beverage reviews! PS: My favorite soda of all time has to be Surge. It’s no longer with us so my next favorite is Adirondack black cherry soda.

  13. Russ says:

    I love Vernors Diet! I can usually find it at Krogers in Central Indiana.

    • Gottfried Mind says:

      (I’ll speak for the majority of us Hoosiers, and say that we don’t call it “Krogers” here….It’s just “Kroger”…..On second thought, never mind: I forgot where I was….)

  14. Bob says:

    Stewarts, but not thier ginger ale.

    That stuff will blow your head off.

  15. rob says:

    I still drink Fresca. My other favorite is Mello Yellow.

  16. Ashley says:

    Southern Illinois citrus soda called Ski. yummmmm

  17. Cath says:

    I grew up in Metro Detroit, so I was raised on Vernors and Faygo. So nice to see someone else appreciate the best ginger ale out there!

  18. Fritz says:

    I think its disgusting and has an aftertaste similar to what i think baby poop would taste like

  19. Aimee says:

    Vernor’s is strong, but sweet. Did you know you can get it on tap at the Detroit airport? I found a Coney Dog place in the NW (Delta?) wing & they had it at their fountain. Wish I could have filled my purse with it.

    I miss Pepsi Light, Fanta Red Creme.

    I love love love Green River. It’s bottled out of Chicago, and has lime oil as an ingredient. If you like lime, you’ll love it. A lot of places in Chicago have it on tap. There is this place on the south side, Gerties & Lindys, that makes sundaes, phosphates, etc with the Green River syrup. YUM.

    Also I wish I could find Canada Dry CRANBERRY ginger ale more often than once every 10 years. We found it last year & promptly mixed it with Sprecher’s cream soda or Vanillacuddy’s, but it’s good straight too.

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