How to Make a Boston Cooler

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The Boston cooler is like a root beer float with a kick. James Vernor created this ice cream drink in the late 1800s using his signature ginger soda, which has a slightly spicy finish. Make your own ginger syrup to give your float a fresh twist. Customize the syrup with a little lemon zest for a hint of citrus or a vanilla bean to play up the creaminess of vanilla ice cream.

How to Make a Boston Cooler
(Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Saucepan
  • Granulated sugar
  • Water
  • Fresh ginger
  • Microplane or a sharp knife
  • Dried ginger (optional)
  • Spoon
  • Fine mesh strainer or sieve
  • Lidded container
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Ice cream scoop
  • Seltzer or club soda
  • Tall glass
  • Straw
Step 1

Combine granulated sugar and water in a saucepan set over medium heat. Vary the ratio of sugar to water according to how sweet you want the syrup to be. For a fairly sweet syrup, use equal parts sugar and water or 1 part sugar to 1 1/4 parts water. For a less sweet syrup, combine 1 part sugar with 2 parts water.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 2

Wash a piece of fresh, unpeeled ginger under hot water before grating it with a microplane or slicing it into pieces. Reserve the juice and the pulp.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 3

Add the ginger to the saucepan once the water and sugar mixture begins to boil. Or whisk in a small amount of dried ground ginger for even more intense ginger flavor.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 4

Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer over medium or medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Once it is finished, the liquid should be reduced by about half and slightly thickened to a syrupy consistency.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 5

Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer or sieve into a lidded container. Chill the mixture before using it. The syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for five to 14 days.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 6

Remove vanilla ice cream from the freezer. Let it sit at room temperature for five to 10 minutes to allow it to soften slightly.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 7

Add 1 part of the homemade ginger syrup for every 5 parts of seltzer or club soda to a tall glass. Use more or less syrup, according to taste. Only add enough seltzer to fill the glass two-thirds full. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media
Step 8

Place two to three scoops of vanilla ice cream in the glass. Top it with more seltzer. Insert a straw and spoon into the glass and serve the drink immediately.

Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media

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