June 17th, 2014
08:16 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

Not long ago the folks from Portland, Oregon’s Salt & Straw stopped by the F&W offices, and there was much rejoicing. That’s because what Salt & Straw makes is ice cream, and when you bring ice cream to an office full of ravenous food fanatics, rejoicing and/or gorging is what happens.

What particularly intrigued me about Salt & Straw, though, is that it’s one of several artisanal ice cream producers involved in what you might call a “cocktail ice cream” trend. For their newly released Strawberry and Verbena Pimm’s Cup flavor, for instance, S&S cofounder Tyler Malek teamed up with bartender Ross Hunsinger of Portland’s Aviary bar to create a concoction utilizing strawberries, lemon verbena and a zingy gin marmalade.

Along the same lines, at Georgia’s High Road Craft Ice Cream, founder Keith Schroeder’s Bourbon Burnt Sugar ice cream basically tastes like sipping bourbon at the same time you’re eating frozen crème brulée—not a bad thing, in my world. Jeni’s in Ohio has created Moonshine & Corn Syrup Custard with Pecans for Father’s Day (and why not) in addition to its usual lineup, which includes a terrific Riesling–Poached Pear Sorbet.

Do these ice creams have actual alcohol in them? Yes. But that’s not really the point. As Malek says, “What we’re trying to do is focus on the flavor of the alcohol or cocktail, not make them boozy. So, for our Chocolate Chip Mint Julep flavor, we made an ‘essence’ of bourbon using apricots, stone fruits, coconut and so on; and there’s also a lot of cooked bourbon in there, where we just cook off the alcohol.”

In fact, what most of the artisanal ice cream makers creating these liquor-infused flavors aim for is to keep the overall alcohol level at less than 0.5 percent of total volume, which is minimal (the number comes from FDA regulations, I’m told).

So, am I going to give up on my Talisker 10 Year Old and start chowing down on pints of Steve’s Scotch Chocolate instead (which, by the by, is made with Dewar’s White Label)? Nope. But trying them together...now, there’s a fine summertime idea.

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Recipe: Old-Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream
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Vintage Cookbook Vault: frozen dessert challenge

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Ice Cream • Sip • Spirits

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Elsa Gero

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    August 19, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  2. Luke

    It's tricky to make alcoholic ice cream that still has a kick, because of the low freezing point of alcohol. Here's a recipe that get's around that problem and tastes great! It's Honey Jack Daniels ice cream :D http://thecuriousgastronomer.co.za/alcoholic-ice-cream-honey-liqueur/

    August 19, 2014 at 6:48 am |
  3. breed7

    Amy's Ice Cream - a chain of ice cream retailers in Austin, Texas - has been making alcohol-infused ice cream since the 1980s. They have at least two flavors of ice cream containing alcohol in each store daily.

    Yet CNN acts as if this is a new thing. Ray Isle isn't very good at doing a little background research, I guess.

    June 22, 2014 at 9:46 am |
  4. emohermione

    This is why we need prohibition back! How sinful.

    June 20, 2014 at 1:49 am |
  5. AleeD®

    Ciao Bella offered a wine flavored product. Good stuff.

    June 19, 2014 at 7:04 am |
  6. Ally

    Back in the early 90's I remember one of the big ice cream companies... Haagen Dazs?? made a trio of liqueur flavored ice creams. My favorite was the Amaretto one. I think another was Irish cream.

    June 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  7. bart

    I have been making kick azz ice cream for 30 years...Creme de menthe, Kaluaha, irish cream never had one person that didn't want a little more

    June 18, 2014 at 1:35 am |
  8. sixthromeo

    Nothing new here, just trying to make it high brow to bump up the price and skin those suckers alive!

    June 18, 2014 at 12:20 am |
  9. PPJr

    Add some pot it it, and it covers all the bases!

    June 17, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
  10. karek40

    Nasty tasting, If you are going to drink, drink don't try to mask the taste.

    June 17, 2014 at 8:18 pm |
  11. Josh

    It must get difficult to freeze ice cream, if it contains too much alcohol.

    June 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
  12. Mel Wood

    We do a Woodford Reserve chocolate at the restaurant I work at. Insanely delicious!!!!

    June 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
  13. Rod C. Venger

    Go into any Red Robin and ask for a shake or malt and they'll add in a shot of the booze of your choice for about $3. I've been ordering an Amaretto Malt for my birthday for 2 decades now.

    June 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
  14. palintwit

    Sarah Palin has a great recipe for making icecream out of roadkill.

    June 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  15. Tim

    I made an awesome Arrogant Bastard Ice cream with crushed chocolate malted balls and walnuts. It was a hit in the brewery store with all the employees. The strong hops flavor was mellowed out by the chocolate and walnuts.

    June 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm |
  16. sisterchef

    I do not understand the comment attached to image 6. FDA criteria have nothing to do with recipes for home made foods. This whole article is silly. Chef is right..people just discovering ices made with liquor? Think not.

    June 17, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • Rod C. Venger

      I think the point is that with heavy cream in the recipe, it's not sherbet at all but ice cream, at least by today's standards.

      June 17, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
  17. Chef

    Not news, been using sno bar ice cream for years...are people just discovering this?

    June 17, 2014 at 10:05 am |
    • Jackson

      If you look at the last line of the article, it says (c) 2011.

      June 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
      • Logic Patrol

        Now ... you know what we've said about using reason, facts and logic on trolls ...

        June 19, 2014 at 6:53 am |
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