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Spirited Desserts Across the Country

Desserts are coming of age as chefs booze up their already-indulgent sweets with choicest alcohols. Take a peek at some of the fun ones across the country.

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Moderne Barn

Address: 430 Bedford Road, Armonk, NY

Must-Try: Trio of Creme Brulees: Kahlúa & White Chocolate, Sambuca & Espresso, Amaretto & Chocolate


Executive Chef Ethan Kostbar heads up the kitchen at the country-chic Moderne Barn in Armonk, N.Y., serving up modern American cuisine with global influences. He wanted to give his sampling of creme brulees — each one is 2 ounces — a fun twist for the restaurant’s adult clientele, so he infused each one with a complementary or contrasting liqueur: Kahlua with white chocolate, sambuca with espresso, and amaretto and chocolate.


By Monica Bhide


Photograph by Paul Johnson. All other images courtesy of the restaurants.

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Photo: Jesse Carmody ©

Superba Food + Bread

Address: 1900 S. Lincoln Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Must-Try: Macallan 12 Year Butterscotch Tart


This cafe and bakery has pastry chef Lincoln Carson, formerly of the Mina Group, cooking up its delightful desserts. “I took a little poetic license with the addition of a fine single-malt whiskey to the butterscotch flavor profile, making it a more adult-centric dessert. The tart starts with a shell coated in Valrhona Caramelia chocolate, a blond milk chocolate with strong caramel flavors, and is then layered with a milk chocolate toffee, milk sponge cake, and then a round of butterscotch custard (similar to a rich creme brulee consistency) made with Macallan 12 Scotch. Then it’s coated with a toffee glaze,” he tells us. The final touch: spirals of dark chocolate shards atop the tart.

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Address: 1639 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL

Must-Try: Thyme Panna Cotta with Campari Pearls


Executive Pastry Chef Ji Yoon is cooking up interesting desserts at Acadia in Chicago, including this thyme panna cotta that adds whimsy with Campari pearls. It balances sweet, tart and floral all in one. This dessert, according to the chef, is a reminder to her to slow down sometimes. “The thyme panna cotta is a fun play on the fact that I feel like there’s never enough time in the day—as the mother of two boys, I’m always running around. And the vibrant orange color of the Campari reminds me of my favorite childhood book,” she tells us. The panna cotta is served with cantaloupe and honeydew that’s been compressed with a vodka-and-St-Germain syrup, and the Campari formed into pearls.

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IO Urban Roofscape at The Godfrey Hotel

Address: 127 W. Huron Street, Chicago, IL

Must-Try: Spiked Root Beer Float


If you have always loved root beer, then this dessert is for you! Root beer is blended with Courvoisier cognac and topped with caramel and mint. Chef Riley Huddleston says, “Root beer is a nostalgic summer beverage that a many generations have enjoyed. We wanted to bring back those memories in a fun, creative way.”

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