The other day I did something I haven't done since I was a child: ordered a scoop of Superman ice cream. When it comes to ice cream I prefer something chocolate-based like french silk or Mackinac island fudge, but since returning to the Mitten I decided to try another sweet Midwest staple and revisit the classic flavor. However, upon my first bite I began questioning everything I know. I wondered, what flavor is Superman ice cream, really?

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History of Superman

No one knows who the definitive inventor of Superman ice cream was and its origins remain a mystery. One report credits Detroit's Stroh's Ice Cream, a branch of Stroh's Brewery, with creating the unique concoction during Prohibition, but that has yet to be verified. During the time when alcohol production was banned, many taprooms turned into ice cream parlors and became the local hangout for the working class to socialize.

Mostly Midwestern

I am now realizing why the locals made fun of me when I moved to Missouri and mentioned "Superman" as a flavor of ice cream- they truly thought I was joking! I had no idea that the iconic flavor is unique to Michigan and the upper Midwest. Much like Blue Moon ice cream, Superman is a flavor relatively unknown to the rest of the United States. Superman is mostly a regional delicacy and is typically only found in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.

What Makes Superman, Superman?

Though we may argue about the exact flavor profile of this sweet treat, in order to be considered a form of Superman ice cream it must have the iconic tri-color combination. The red, blue, and yellow colors are rumored to have been modeled after the legendary DC superhero and the colors of his uniform, but ice cream enthusiasts claim the creation of this uncommon ice cream flavor pre-dates the character's existence!

So What Flavor IS It?

Atlas Obscura claims the swirled ice cream mixture, "doesn’t even have a set flavor profile." So what flavors are we tasting?! The original Stroh's Ice Cream claims to have made their Superman with Blue Moon (another mystery flavor), Faygo Redpop (strawberry), and lemon. However, other ice cream manufacturers have substituted a few of the flavor profiles to create their own versions of the iconic mixture.

For example, both Meijer's Purple Cow "Scooperman" and Hudsonville's "Superscoop" feature a combination of black cherry, Blue Moon, and vanilla; while Dean Foods' "Super Rainbow" uses Blue Moon, Redpop, and vanilla. The Hershey brand's "Superman" even uses banana in place of vanilla!

So the short answer is: it depends on where you get your ice cream.

Which version of Superman ice cream do you prefer?

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