Mixing ice cream with alcohol can be a tricky endeavor. First of all, you need the right equipment behind the bar to make it happen. Second, you need the right menu strategies and recipes. Finally, you need the type of consumer interested in this unusual style of cocktail. And apparently this is happening because boozy floats and alcoholic ice cream drinks are currently trending.
Summer is often a great time for ice cream cocktails for obvious reasons. In 2017, however, it's even more popular. Mixing ice cream with spirits is making an enormous comeback in both "new American" restaurants and prohibition-style cocktails bars from Washington, D.C. to The Westendorff.
Let's take a look at three of the most popular ice cream cocktails:
Bartenders privy to ice cream cocktails are starting to make the Brandy Alexander with a new twist. Instead of cream, ice cream is used. Though the origins of the drink are somewhat hazy, it was likely invented in New York by bartender Troy Alexander at a place called Rector's. He was said to have invented the drink, which substituted French cognac instead of gin from the "original" Alexander, in order to serve a white drink for a dinner celebrating the fictional Phoebe Snow.
The Brandy Alexander Float
- 3/4 cups softened vanilla ice cream
- 1 ounce brandy or to taste
- 1 ounce crème de cacao or to taste
- Whole nutmeg
Blend ice cream, brandy, and crème de cacao until smooth but still somewhat thick to milkshake proportions. Pour into a chilled stemmed glass and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.
The Grasshopper was invented at Tujague's in New Orleans' French Quarter. Even the original recipe, which included cream instead of ice cream, was intended to be an after dinner drink. The drink gained popularity throughout the South in the 1950s and 60s, and today, it's seeing an ice cream revival in places like the Greenwood Supper Club in Fish Creek, Wisconsin.
The Frozen Grasshopper
- 2 cups softened vanilla ice cream
- 1 ounce green crème de menthe
- 1 ounce crème de cacao
- Whipped cream
Purée ice cream, 1?2 oz. crème de menthe, and the crème de cacao in a blender; pour into a cocktail glass. Top with a dollop of whipped cream; drizzle remaining crème de menthe over top. Serve immediately.
The Pink Squirrel is another ice cream cocktail seeing a revival at the Greenwood Supper Club in Wisconsin. This time, though, Wisconsin owns the rights to the drink in history, too. Invented at Bryant's Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee during the 1960's, it saw enormous popularity for a few decades before falling off the map. Today? It's back.
The Brandy Alexander Float
- 1/2 cup Creme de Almond
- 1/2 cup white Creme de Cacao
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream
- 3 cups ice
Purée Creme de Almond, Creme de Cacao, ice cream, and half of the ice in a blender; Add remaining ice and blend until smooth. Pour into small cocktail glasses. Top with whipped cream, slivered almonds, and/or chocolate shavings. Serve immediately.
Learn more about ice cream cocktails and the equipment you'll need to make them.