A fountain drink, originally one made with cream, ice, egg, soda water, and var flavorings, later one made with milk, ice cream, and flavoring; a milkshake:
a in comb royal cabinet; also attrib. obs
1891 Salt Lake Tribune (UT) 8 May 5/5, [Advt:] Royal Cabinet is the most delicious drink. Druehl & Franken, Main and Third South. 1894 Door Co. Democrat (Sturgeon Bay WI) 2 June 1/2, [Advt:] Royal Cabinet Soda, Stiles & Reynolds. 1895 Elmira Gaz. & Free Press (NY) 3 Aug 7/4, The newest thing to come to town and the one that seems able to bear off the palm for novelty and ingenuity is compounded by a Water street druggist and called a Royal cabinet egg phosphate. It is made of eggs, claret, grape juice, lemon, phosphate, cream, orange and ice. 1902 Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore OK) [7 Aug 5]/2 (newspaperarchive.com), Soda Menu. — Fancy Mixed Drinks. . . Royal Cabinet. 1904 Altoona Mirror (PA) 29 June 4/7, [Advt:] All Fancy Drinks, 5 Cents. . . Louisville Punch, Royal Cabinet, Queen’s Favorite, Boston Flipp. 1912 Trenton Eve. Times (NJ) 12 June 13/1, [Advt:] Our Soda Special This Week “Royal Cabinet,” 10c. 1919 Charlotte Sun. Observer (NC) 20 July 14/4, Sundaes—Banana Split—American Beauty—Chocolate Nut—Royal Cabinet—Pineapple Ice.
b in var other combs, esp egg cabinet, coffee cabinet~. orig scattered, now RI, swMA
1903 Spatula 9.749, A drink that has become most popular is “Coffee Cabinet,” consisting of coffee syrup, egg, plain cream, ice cream, and shaved ice, thoroughly shaken. The coarse stream of soda is drawn and the drink is strained. 1905 AZ Republican (Phoenix) [28 May 18]/3 (newspaperarchive.com), [Advt:] Wild Orange Phosphate Egg Sherry Egg Flip Egg Cabinet Claret Lemonade. 1908 Iola Daily Reg. (KS) 17 June 6/7, [Advt:] Call for a Chocolate Egg Cabinet at Crabb’s. 1911 Newport Daily News (RI) 7 July 8/5, [Advt:] Seasonable Specialties. Honolulu Sundae . . Coffee Cabinet. 1917 Warren Eve. Mirror (PA) 3 July 4/4, [Advt:] Specials for Saturday. . . Peach Parfait—15c Egg Cabinet—10c. 1947 Madison Eagle (NJ) 16 Jan 2/7, [Advt:] Try a Coffee Cabinet made with Delicious Breyer’s Coffee Ice Cream. 1952 Newport Daily News (RI) 24 Nov 8/7, Where, besides this immediate area, does one ask for a chocolate “cabinet” rather than a frappe or milkshake? 1956 Newport Daily News (RI) 23 Feb 15/3, After a game this is what the average rooter eats—one giant lollypop, one order of french fried clams, one coffee cabinet, and a combination. 1995 [see c below]. 2001 [see c below]. 2008 in 2018 DARE File—Internet seMA, Grew up in Fall River, Mass. When I reminisce about walking to the corner store, hopping up to the soda fountain and ordering a “coffee cab”, my kids thinks I’m hallucinating!
c Used generically. RI, seMA
1952 Newport Daily News (RI) 16 June 3/1, [Advt:] Top Quality Ice Cream Sodas Cabinets Milk Shakes Candies Sandwiches. 1957 Rose Block Is. 176 sRI, Only ten cents for an ice cream soda, fifteen for a college ice, a cabinet or a banana split. 1968 DARE File seMA, Cabinet is said by Dorothy Cahill of Fall River to have originated in a drugstore there, named by the pharmacist who concocted it. The ice cream was kept in those days in a cabinet that was part of the soda-fountain set-up. 1971 Today Show Letters RI, What they call a milk shake in New York and Connecticut and a frappe in Massachusetts, they call a cabinet in Rhode Island. A milk shake in Rhode Island is without ice cream, while a cabinet has ice cream. 1982 Smithsonian Letters RI, Cabinet—In Rhode Island this term more likely refers to a milkshake (using milk, syrup and ice cream) than a piece of furniture. I grew up five miles from the Massachusetts border. As a child I could order a cabinet in R.I., but had to remember to order a frappe just five minutes to the west [sic]. 1995 DARE File RI, Milk, ice cream, and flavoring, blended together and sold as frappes in nearby Massachusetts, are known as cabinets throughout Little Rhody. Coffee milk (sweetened coffee-flavored milk) is popular, too. . . Coffee milk blended with ice cream is a “coffee cab.” 2001 Ibid RI, I . . spent 2 years (1984-86) at Brown Univ. in Providence RI, where I had it carefully explained to me that I should say “cabinet” instead of “milkshake.” . . Nobody ever said anything about coffee cabinets in particular, but maybe the whole cabinet concept was simplified or dumbed down for us temporary RI residents. On campus I had no trouble ordering chocolate cabinets or strawberry cabinets. 2006 DARE File—Internet RI, Cabinet—A drink made from milk, flavored syrup, and ice cream. In other parts of the country it’s called a milk shake or a frappe.