Saucy Scoops: 14 Places to Try Boozy Ice Cream
Get your buzz on at these innovative ice cream parlors serving up boozy spins on a classic summertime treat.
Photo By: Alan Gastelum ©2014 Alan Gastelum ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
We’ve got frozen desserts and frozen drinks. All across the country, enterprising ice cream parlors are combining the two, creating adults-only ice cream flavors that are sure to keep spirits in summer mode. From whiskey-heavy soft serve to hip-hop-inspired gin and juice, here’s where to satisfy those ice cream and booze cravings in one fell swoop.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Colombus, Ohio
At the forefront of the artisanal ice cream revolution, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opened its first Ohio location back in 2002. Its roster of scoop shops has been growing ever since. The company now has eight locations, spanning from the Pacific to the Atlantic, with outposts in food-obsessed cities in between. The buttercream-based ice cream is reason enough to go, but regulars love Jeni’s company culture, too: Jeni’s is endorsed by the international nonprofit B Lab as a certified B Corporation, meaning it meets rigorous standards of social and environmental accountability. Direct and Fair Trade methods are employed for sourcing, with a number of company partnerships with suppliers like Askinosie Chocolate, Intelligentsia coffee and Middle West Spirits. The latter’s oak barrel-aged whiskey is the main ingredient in the decadent Whiskey & Pecans ice cream.
Ice Cream Jubilee
Using locally sourced dairy, this acclaimed parlor, founded by attorney-turned-“icecreampreneur” Victoria Lai, makes a wide selection of haute alcohol-infused treats in addition to more classic flavors. Some are on the straightforward side, such as Banana Bourbon Caramel (infused with a free-handed splash of Jim Beam) and seasonal fall Maple Rye Pecan. Cherries Jubilee celebrates D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival by incorporating pureed black cherries with a hearty dash of brandy — like the cherry on top of a Manhattan cocktail. Other beverage-inspired options include Dark & Stormy, Gin & Tonic sorbet, Grapefruit Campari and summery Strawberry Lemonade Champagne.
Photo courtesy of Victoria Lai
Sweet Action Ice Cream, Denver
Moomers Ice Cream, Traverse City, Michigan
Many ice cream parlors use local dairy. Few take the concept as literally as Moomers does. The shop is on a working dairy farm, so much of the cream is sourced right on the property (to keep up with high demand, the creamery also sources from outside farms). The setting alone impresses, but the flavors — a 20-strong rotation from 160 total flavors — are outstanding. The extensive list includes some adult beverage-inspired treats like Peach Riesling, combining peach ice cream with local wine. Cherry Brandy mixes brandy-based ice cream with a swirl of Traverse City cherry topping. Uber Goober is a beer-and-peanut butter-lover's dream, with Short’s Brewing Company’s Peanut Butter Stout ice cream and a peanut butter swirl; this flavor is also offered in town at 7 Monks Taproom, in sandwich form.
Photo courtesy of Javery Photography
The Hop Ice Cream Cafe, Asheville, N.C.
Asheville residents love their beer. The small city houses at least 27 breweries in the immediate area, though the number is growing by the minute. Most restaurants serve an expansive list of brews, and many incorporate beer into the food. The Hop Ice Cream Cafe makes an assortment of ice creams infused with ales, porters and stouts. Each Friday, the creamery’s tasting room offers flights of dessert. More than 50 variations have graced the menu, including Asheville Brewing Company Love Ninja Porter, a Valentine’s Day special brewed with strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. Another special, Wicked Weed Brewing S’Mores Stout, used a stout infused with graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow to create a scoop with the flavors of s’mores.
Photo courtesy of The Hop Ice Cream Cafe
Ample Hills Creamery, Brooklyn
Tipsy Scoop, New York City
Melissa Tavss comes from a long line of ice cream makers. Her great-great-great-grandfather sold homemade gelato from a pushcart. He eventually opened a shop and brought his sons into the business. Tavss follows the family tradition with a boozy twist. Her company, Tipsy Scoop, specializes solely in liquor-infused sweet cream. Flavors include dark chocolate-whiskey-salted caramel, raspberry limoncello sorbet, and spiked mint chocolate chip with Branca Menta and chocolate liqueur, available at her Kips Bay shop and at specialty markets. Tavss also makes alcohol-laden ice cream sandwiches such as cake batter vodka martini ice cream layered between Gotham Cookies’ Birthday Cookies, and spiked hazelnut coffee ice cream encapsulated by Gotham Cookies’ chocolate chip cookies.
Salt & Straw, Portland, Ore., and Los Angeles
The Pied Piper Creamery, Nashville
The House, Boozy Ice Cream and Brews, San Antonio
Morgenstern’s, New York City
Before he became a successful New York restaurateur, Nicholas Morgenstern was a classically trained pastry chef. He’s logged time in the kitchens of top-tier restaurants like Daniel and Gramercy Tavern, so it should come as no surprise that he invests incredible time and technique in his ice cream parlor. There, he mixes newfangled flavors (think Fernet Black Walnut) and well-done classics that highlight individual notes. For example, there are four vanillas: Madagascar, Burnt Honey, Peppermint and Bourbon. The last-mentioned flavor is made by infusing bourbon with vanilla beans for a year. Once strained, the vanilla beans are scraped and added to the ice cream base, before getting hit with the bourbon again. The end result hits a new high for this frequently mocked flavor: It’s rich, warming and sweetly complex.
Photo courtesy of Alan Gastelum