Every Ice Cream Treat Made With Booze Slideshow
July 16, 2013
Here’s how to add a splash of booze to everything from sorbets to sundae sauces
Slightly Boozy: The first Commandment of Cool, Matt O’Connor of The Icecreamists says, is, "Keep it simple." The easiest way to make a boozy milkshake, O’Connor says, is to start with a basic recipe for a milkshake, blend it, and toss in some alcohol before it’s finished. "Always underestimate the amount [of alcohol] you think you need — you can add more later," O’Connor says, noting that he starts with a one-to-one ratio of whole milk and ice cream, mixing in a splash of booze later. "Either way, I like it thick and creamy with a big slug of ethanol to cut through the mix."
At Momofuku Milk Bar, Tosi’s rule of thumb is to keep all alcohol additions to less than 3 ounces when dealing with a 12-ounce shake. "There becomes a point when the alcohol will melt the ice cream and turn it into liquid," Tosi says; during recipe development, the team will always start with 1.5 ounces and add additional alcohol in increments of ½ ounce to taste.
Super Boozy: Milkshakes, since they're partially liquid, already work really well when incorporating a good amount of booze. But if you need a little more liquid courage this summer, top it off with an extra shot, or simply serve a milkshake alongside another pour.
Slightly Boozy: As any alcohol connoisseur will tell you, alcohol lowers the freezing temperature of liquids, meaning any ice pop with booze will take longer to solidify, and will melt faster. So if you’re just doing a quick fruit ice pop, just add a splash of alcohol. "Freezing straight alcohol and water and sugar is OK if you only have a ½ ounce of base alcohol in 10 to 12 ounces," Chris Hopkins says. But if you have too much? "You’ll end up with a puddle," says O’Connor. "[Instead,] use minimum quantities and plenty of plain old water. Add interest using cordials, spices, and complementary flavors."
Super Boozy: If you truly want to make an ice pop with one drink’s worth of alcohol, you’re going to have to pull out some science. At The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, the team adds gelatin and agar to bond the liquid together, making it easier to freeze and solidify.
Start with a traditional punch recipe, but make it just a touch sweeter than normal: one part alcohol, one part modifier, one part sugar simple syrup, and five parts juice. Then, bloom some gelatin (for 4 cups of liquid, Hopkins uses three sheets of gelatin). Dissolve the gelatin in a pan, add a ½ cup of your punch, let the gelatin dissolve, and then incorporate your base back into the punch for freezing.
Too difficult? Grab a trick from O’Connor’s book: "I serve mine in a glass of whatever holy spirit I’ve chosen to pray with," he said. "Amen."
Ice Creams and Sorbets
Slightly Boozy: Sorbets are easier to booze up than ice creams, but as always, less is more. "Use small amounts of alcohol to your ice cream mix just to add a little kick, but too much will affect the texture of your ice cream," O’Connor says. For ice creams, liqueurs are slightly easier thanks to their sugar content, but a little splash of rum or some vodka in your ice cream or sorbet base never hurt anyone. Toss the booze in right before churning and call it a day.
Super Boozy: Once again, if you’re making a truly boozy ice cream or sorbet, turn to science. Use some Base Allegra to bond your ice cream together, or get your hands on some liquid nitrogen to immediately freeze your concoction. Hopkins creates a classic (notably fruity) cocktail like a Hemingway Daiquiri, adds an equal amount of water to the cocktail, and then some sugar to sweeten before churning the cocktail with some liquid nitrogen for a quick sorbet.
An easier route? Make an ice cream cocktail: Top off a scoop of lemony ice cream with a shot of absinthe set aflame (as O’Connor does in The Icecreamists), or serving some mildly boozy ice cream with an extra shot to the side.
Recipe: Gin & Tonic Sorbetto
Homemade Dippin’ Dots
Thanks to the use of liquid nitrogen, it’s fairly easy to add alcohol to these water-park treats. At The Cosmopolitan, Hopkins starts with a single base alcohol: rum, vodka, or a liqueur. He combines equal parts sugar and alcohol, then twice as much of a cream component to get the ice cream consistency. Grab a bowl of liquid nitrogen, fill a dropper with your cream cocktail, and drop away to create tiny frozen dots of boozy ice cream.
Who says the alcohol has to stop at the ice cream? At The Cosmopolitan, spirits make it into every aspect of a sundae, including the caramel and raspberry toppings. A traditional salted caramel sauce gets an extra kick with salted caramel vodka, while a raspberry coulis is infused with Aqua Perfecta Framboise, a raspberry liqueur. The sauces, Hopkins says, are cooked to a thicker consistency than a normal sauce; the bartenders then mix three parts of sauce to one part of alcohol, letting it sit in a pool of hot water to meld together before serving. We suggest experimenting with chocolate sauce and Baileys, or strawberries and rum.
Other ideas? Freeze your espresso ice cream into ice cubes and drop them into an Amaretto and whiskey cocktail (2 tablespoons of each), or top off a boozy sundae with a brandied cherry.
Recipe: The Godfather Ice Cream Cocktail