With beginnings as an elite dessert for ancient kings, ice cream was churned by many hands before becoming America’s favorite treat.

Some millennia ago, ice cream was a decadent dessert only rulers had the means to make. Pre-refrigeration, there was no simple way to get ice cream; it required days of work and preparation. So how did ice cream go from being a rare delicacy to America’s most ubiquitous dessert option? Below we share the unique history of ice cream.

The History of Ice Cream Goes Way, Way Back

For the greater part of ice cream’s history, it was a hard-to-attain, exclusive dessert for the elite, and a favorite among ancient rulers, including:

  • Alexander the Great—The Macedonian conqueror was said to crave snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar.
  • King Solomon—Biblical references reveal how fond this wealthy ruler was of sweetened iced drinks, perhaps inventing the first milkshake along the way…