Society: Drink has been humming along for 50 years

Chuck Bennett

In 1967, Jerome Adams took a job as a bartender at Bayview Yacht Club after being laid off from Ford Motor Co. Determined to create a signature drink for the club, one day while experimenting, longtime club member Ed Jacoby asked Adams to let him try what he was working on. “I’m not sure you want to try this,” Adams said. “I’m just messing around.” Nonetheless he served up a few rounds of the drink and Jacoby said, “Man, these are pretty good. They kinda make you want to hum.” And the rest is history.

The Hummer, made of ice, vanilla ice cream, Kahlua and rum, became an instant phenomenon. When sailors traveled to races they’d call Adams to have him teach other bartenders how to make a Hummer. Calls were even coming in from Europe and Asia.

Now, 50 years later, Bayview is proud to honor the legendary bartender for 50 years of service to its members and the Detroit community. On Saturday, 275 guests gathered at the club for an amazing strolling dinner (lamb chops, quail and beef brisket) on the front lawn overlooking Belle Isle and the Detroit River. Some of Detroit’s most accomplished sailors were in attendance. Bayview is known for hosting the Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race, which is one of the largest and longest running fresh water races in the world.

A half-dozen clubs and restaurants participated in a “Best Hummer” competition judged by the guests and a team of celebrity judges. Detroit Athletic Club ran with the top honors with its homemade ice cream ingredient, offering vanilla or chocolate versions. City Kitchen stood out with a butter pecan variety, as did Sindband’s with its key lime Hummer. DJ Tom T provided cool dance music throughout the night.

Members of Adams’ family were present and he received the Mayor’s Award — Certificate of Achievement and a Spirit of Detroit Award from the Detroit City Council. The event was open to the public and tickets were $50.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.