Did you know that we celebrate National Ice Cream Day every July? This year, it falls on Sunday, July 19th, but you really don’t need an excuse to beat the summer heat with some deliciously sweet ice cream.
This summer, however, we can all use an extra special treat. Why not take things to a new level and add some boozy goodness to your sweets? Yep, we’re talking about learning how to make ice cream with alcohol.
Sure, you can simply stick to a boozy ice cream float. But, if you want to get really creative and crazy, here’s how to make alcoholic ice cream that’ll be the hit of any summer party this year.
How Alcohol Affects the Texture of Ice Cream
Before diving into some delicious recipes, it’s important to understand how adding liquor to ice cream affects the texture of the desert. So, let’s start off by answering the question: does alcohol freeze?
No, alcohol doesn’t freeze, which means that when you’re making boozy ice cream, adding liquor results in a creamier texture. Alcohol such as tequila or vodka will help prevent large ice crystals from forming in the mixture, therefore making it softer and creamier.
It’s important to note, however, that to reap the benefits of this kind of creamy texture, you need to add hard liquor that’s about at least 40 percent alcohol. You can, of course, add liqueurs and other flavorings such as creme de menthe, but it’s not going to help as much with the texture.
And, you’ll also want to be mindful of the fact that adding more alcohol to the mix can eventually result in a runny mixture that won’t freeze at all. So, stick with the amount that the recipes call for (adding a sneaky extra shot won’t hurt, though).
Things to Keep in Mind When Making Ice Cream with Alcohol
Liquor-infused ice cream is delicious and aside from being mindful of how much you’re adding so as not to affect the texture too much, there are a few other things to keep in mind.
You’re going to want to make your ice cream base first. So, whatever alcoholic ice cream recipe you’re following, you’re going to make the base first as you normally would. Then, think about adding in the right kind of alcohol to mix with the flavor of the base.
You can, of course, add a little less or a tiny bit more according to taste, but it’s generally suggested to use ¼ cups of alcohol for every 1 ½ quart of ice cream base. This is pretty standard for most hard liquors such as tequila, whiskey, vodka, and gin.
When you’re mixing, be mindful of the salt you add, too, as salt affects the freezing temperature and can make it even harder for your ice cream to set once you add in the alcohol.
Not sure which alcohol to choose? Sweeter alcohols that have fuller flavors tend to taste better in alcoholic ice cream mixtures. Bourbons are great for this but sweeter flavored vodkas also help kick up the flavor factor.
Cheesecake-based ice creams blend really easily in a blender with the alcohol and can often help give it the texture you desire. However, not all types of alcohol are going to taste great with a cheesecake base.
And, finally, keep in mind that when you finally add in the alcohol and are ready to consume, make sure the top layer of the ice cream looks glazed. This means it’s set well and that all of the flavors you added are really going to come through.
Best Boozy Alcohol Pairings
Okay, so instead of listing out a smattering of boozy alcohol recipes, it’s easier to suggest great flavor pairings so that you can find the recipe that suits your specific taste. Seeing as alcohol-infused ice cream is so popular now, it’s easy to find a variety of recipes.
- Bourbon and mint
- Bourbon and pecans
- Scotch and marshmallow
- Rye whiskey and cherry
- Rum and ginger
- Rum and banana
- Rum and caramel
- Gin and lavender
- Gin and mint
- Sambuca and coffee
- Vodka and blackberry
- Vodka and lemon
- Vodka and peach
- Tequila and lime
- Tequila and mocha
- Tequila and orange
This light should get you started thinking about your favorite flavor combinations. Then, you can add-in other secondary ingredients such as mint, chocolate chips, gummy bears, or real slices of fruit.
Our suggestion is to find a delicious ice cream base first and then think about which alcohol is not only going to pair well with it but also bring out the flavors even more.
What About Wine-Flavored Ice Cream?
Uh, yes, you can absolutely make wine-flavored ice cream. But, because the alcohol is a bit different than hard liquor, it requires a bit of a different cooking process.
First, you’ll want to reduce the wine down to a liquid that resembles a bit of a syrup. To do this, you’ll just pour the bottle of wine into a saucepan and let it simmer over low-medium heat until it’s got the consistency of a syrup.
Then, you’ll follow pretty much the same steps that you would in order to make regular ice cream. Towards the end, once you’ve added the cream, eggs, and sugar and strained it for consistency, you’ll add in the reduced red wine mixture.
Chill in the fridge for about an hour or two and then, if you have an ice cream maker, freeze it according to instructions. And, voila, you’ve got yourself a delicious batch of wine ice cream!
What to Pair with Boozy Ice Cream
You can enjoy ice cream with alcohol as a standalone dessert or you can incorporate it into a more elaborate dessert that rounds out a delicious multi-course meal.
Not sure what to pair your alcoholic ice cream with? Check out our Nutrition & Healthy Food section for more inspiration regarding cuisine, ingredients, and even specific dishes that might pair well with your new dessert.