October 7 is Frappe Day, and for many people this begs the question, “What is a frappe?” Denizens of America’s northeast corner, known as New Englanders, know that a frappe is a milkshake blended with ice cream. But wait a minute—isn’t
a milkshake a blended drink made
of milk, ice cream, and syrup? Not
in New England. Up there, milkshakes don’t include ice cream but only contain milk and syrup. To further confuse matters, travel to Rhode Island, where you’ll likely find cabinet on the menu. A cabinet is a frappe uniquely made with coffee ice cream, coffee syrup, and milk. Why is this regional drink called a cabinet? One story suggests that soda jerks once kept coffee syrup in wooden cabinets behind the counter. Menus might also list tonic floats. In New England, tonic refers to most any carbonated beverage. Consider a tonic float similar to a
root beer float, except you can substitute any flavor of tonic for the root beer and top it off
with a scoop of ice cream.