Hummer: The Vanilla Ice Cream Cocktail Michigan Claims As Its State Drink

With summers getting hotter every year, so warm that you can cook eggs on the tarmac and are forced to keep the AC unit blasting overnight, you look for all sorts of ways to beat the heat. One of our favorite ways to spend the summer after a long day of grueling work is by drinking an ice-cold drink, preferably one with some alcohol. While some people prefer to quaff things like ice-cold beer or rosé that they simply have to crack open, others crave something a bit sweeter. Ice cream and booze might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but there is no better kind of drink on a hot day.

It's an older kind of beverage than you'd think. According to Hotel Seymour, the first kind of ice cream drink that we have a record of came to fruition in the year 1884 when James Tufts finished making a milkshake mixer. Back then, though alcohol was widely consumed, no one thought to mix it into their dairy dessert until about four decades later in the 1920s. Of course the roaring 20s brought us ice cream cocktails, flapper girls, and speakeasies! A majority of those creamy cocktails were made using vanilla ice cream and gin to invent drinks like the White Cargo and the Super Stallion Fizz. One of the best ice cream cocktails didn't arrive on the bar scene until decades later, but it is one of Michigan State's favorites.

Hummer History

It's a fun name for a delicious drink; the Hummer. Not to be mistaken for the vehicle, the Hummer is more akin to a boozy dessert, doused in sweet liquors and ice cream. According to Stacker, the Hummer is Michigan's state drink. Invented in Detroit during the late 1960s, the Hummer's origin story is shrouded in a bit of legend, but the Detroit Free Press claims that the drink is most often credited to Mr. Jerome Adams. Adams, who unfortunately passed away in 2018, was working at the Bayview Yacht Club when the owner of Jacoby's restaurant, Ed Jacoby, stopped in and had Adams' original crafted beverage. Jacoby liked the drink so much, he began to hum delightedly in his chair, thus the name for the Michigan Hummer was born.

And if you're wondering, Forbes did the math on which came first: the drink or the car. Jerome Adams' concoction beat out the SUV years before the vehicle became mass-produced on the market. This makes the iconic Detroit beverage the original "Hummer". But what inspired Adams in the first place to mix rum and Kahlúa with ice cream? Adams officially invented the Hummer in 1968 a year after he began his job at the Bayview Yacht Club. Perhaps inspired by his new role and the other cream-based cocktails, like the Grasshopper, that were becoming highly popular during the decade, Adams played around until he found the perfect sweet-to-spirits combination.


The Hummer looks a lot like an old-fashioned milkshake, though this ice cream cocktail will put some hair on your chest while also giving you an incredible jolt of sugar. It is honestly the perfect combination of sweet liquors paired and blended into a rich-tasting vanilla ice cream. The NY Times says that Michigan's widely beloved drink is comparable to coffee ice cream and in some cocktail recipes, has been modified by adding Maraschino cherries, whipped cream, or even (for a holiday twist) candy canes. But ultimately, to make an authentic Hummer that Jerome Adams would be proud of, all you need is rum, Kahlúa, vanilla ice cream, and some ice.

What kind of rum should you use for the Hummer? The View from Great Island recommends using amber rum aka gold rum when whipping up your beverage. Something like a Bacardi which has an attractive light gold color and has been oak barrel aged so it tastes rich and sweet in flavor. This kind of rum also pairs well with the necessary Kahlúa, which happens to be a coffee-flavored liqueur made by infusing Arabica coffee beans with rum. Kahlúa is also popular in other famous cocktails like the White Russian, Mudslide, and the Espresso Martini. The Kahlúa is what gives the Hummer that dark kick of flavor that makes it oh-so-delicious. As for the ice cream, you pick your favorite!

How it's made & places that make it

Now before you say that this drink is too much work and opt for another icy cocktail, you'll be happy to know that the Hummer only has two steps. Throw all your ingredients into a blender to puree, and throw the perfectly mixed, and smooth drink into a glass (via Punch Drink). That's it! In just a few moments you could be sitting out on your porch and sipping away on some ice cream-filled goodness, and maybe even humming a bit to yourself as you enjoy.

But if for some reason, that's still too much effort on a hot day, we completely understand. So, instead of making one at home, Corp Magazine recommends heading out to some of the best places that serve a glass of cold stuff. First and foremost, the site of the creation itself, the Bayview Yacht Club, is a great place to pick up a Hummer. Overlooking a view of the Detroit River, you'll be able to enjoy Jerome Adams' drink right where it became a sensation. A few other places that excel at the Hummer are the Sweetwater Tavern, Mercury Burger Bar, London Chop House, and Sinbad's Restaurant all located in Detroit, Michigan.