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.

Related To:

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.

Moderne Barn

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.

Superba Food + Bread


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.


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.”

IO Urban Roofscape at The Godfrey Hotel

Commander’s Palace

Address: 1403 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, LA

Must-Try: Creole Bread Pudding Souffle with Warm Whiskey Cream


Creole Bread Pudding Souffle with Warm Whiskey Cream is the signature dessert at the more-than-century-old Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. The restaurant tells us that this is the type of dessert that “people would hop on a plane for!” Whiskey cream sauce is generously poured over a piping-hot bread pudding lightened with meringue, and yes, you don’t want to count the calories here.

Commander's Palace

Compañía de Café

Address: 110 N. Maclay Avenue, San Fernando, CA

Must-Try: Aztec Chocolate Cupcake with Chipotle-Tequila Buttercream


This brand-new LA-based cafe serves up Mexican cuisine in dine-in or grab-and-go style. Executive Pastry Chef Tamara Davis serves updated takes on classic favorites like this cupcake that combines traditional Abuelita chocolate with a chipotle-tequila buttercream. Chef Davis tells us she wanted to provide an experience that was more than just a simple chocolate cupcake, so she added tequila! She adds, “The vanilla and salt undertones of the tequila are a perfect counterpart to the gently spiced Abuelita chocolate.“ The inspiration for combining the chipotle-tequila buttercream with the chocolate cupcake came from her first memory of tasting chocolate and alcohol together.

Compañía de Cafe


Address: 450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA

Must-Try: Blueberry Pie with Pineau des Charentes Blueberries, Sweet Basil–Honey Pine Nut Ice Cream


A boozed-up blueberry pie? Why, yes! Executive Pastry Chef Terri Wu tells us that her friend Bruce at Bar Agricole turned her on to the idea of using Pineau des Charentes in desserts and she started to play around with the French aperitif. “The Pineau des Charentes has a nice spice to it, with warm sherry notes, and goes well with blueberry. The basil and honey flavors of the ice cream go really well with the spice. I used rye flour and cinnamon for the crust that has a graham cracker flavor to it. It’s a simple, straightforward dessert that’s more interesting than a regular blueberry pie, ” she says.


Co Co. Sala

Address: 929 F Street NW, Washington, DC

Must-Try: A Sticky Situation


D.C.-based Co Co. Sala serves up sweet and savory delights, all laced with chocolate. "At Co Co. Sala, we love to serve ‘chocolate for grown-ups’ by adding our own twists to classic desserts while highlighting chocolate and liqueurs,” says co-owner Nisha Sidhu. A Sticky Situation is a decadent twist on sticky toffee pudding: It's smothered with a brown butter toffee sauce that includes Amrut single malt Scotch from India. It is served with a ginger caramel and Amarula liqueur ice cream that contrasts with the warm cake.

Co Co. Sala