8 Ice Cream Cocktails You Can Make at Home

How mezcal, whiskey and crème de cacao can enhance frozen treats

Updated September 6, 2021 8:20 am
mint julep float
A Woodford Reserve Mint Julep Float
Woodford Reserve

While blending booze and ice cream (or sorbet) together isn’t always easy, we recently canvassed a few experts on their ideal combo of the two decadent ingredients. Below, some cocktails, floats, pour-overs, milkshakes and even an infused ice cream. And for some background and history on ice-cream cocktails, head here.

The Mint Julep Ice Cream Float
Michael Toscano, Woodford Reserve Brand Ambassador

  • 2 scoops vanilla or mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • .75 oz. Mint Honey Syrup (or Woodford Reserve Mint Simple Syrup)
  • 1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • Q Kola
  • Dark Chocolate for garnish

Scoop ice cream in tall glass. Pour syrup and bourbon over ice cream. Top with Q Kola. Garnish with a paper straw, large sprig of fresh mint and grated dark chocolate.

“There’s something nostalgic about an ice cream float that just makes you feel good,” says Toscano. “As a kid growing up in the Midwest, ice cream floats were always part of my sleepovers with my grandparents. And the Kentucky Derby was a huge part of my upbringing. This brings together two amazing parts of my life into one fantastic cocktail.” 

Courtesy of Dante

Starward Milkshake
Matthew Reysen, Bartender at Dante (NYC)

  • 2-3 Scoops of Talenti Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream 
  • 1.5 oz of Starward Two Fold Whisky
  • 3 oz of whole milk 
  • 0.5 oz. Amontillado Sherry
  • 2 pieces of Valrhona Dark Chocolate 
  • 1-2 ice cubes 

Add all ingredients to a blender for a couple seconds. Serve in a chilled pint glass with fresh raspberries, shaved dark and white chocolate over the milkshake. 

“The Starward Two Fold compliments the raspberry cheesecake ice cream so well,” says Reysen. “I created this drink to enhance the flavors of the whisky, not drown them out.” Interestingly enough, Reysen is not really a dessert person, at least when he was a child, “With the exception of anything tart, and then I was all in. As I’ve grown up my sweet tooth has fully emerged so I wanted to pay a little bit of homage to my childhood, which is where the raspberries came in. My favorite quarantine ice cream was the Talenti raspberry cheesecake, so this was a no-brainer.”

Brandy Alexander
Amy Wimmer, owner, The Del-Bar, Wisconsin Dells

  • 0.5  oz. dark crème de cacao
  • 0.5  oz. brandy
  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream

Pour crème de cacao and brandy into the bottom of a blender. Top with ice cream. Blend until creamy and smooth. Pour into glass (poco, hurricane or rocks), top with homemade whipped cream and nutmeg

Amy Wimmer, owner, The Del-Bar, Wisconsin Dells

  • 0.5 oz. green crème de menthe
  • 0.5 oz. white crème de cacao
  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream

Pour crème de menthe and crème de cacao into the bottom of a blender. Top with ice cream. Blend until creamy and smooth. Pour into glass (poco, hurricane or rocks), top with homemade whipped cream, then drizzle crème de menthe on top.

The previous two recipes are taken from Wisconsin Cocktails by Jeanette Hurt. Reprinted by permission of the University of Wisconsin Press. © 2020 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

At Random
At Random

Peanut Butter Cup
Via Michael Morton of At Random (Milwaukee)

  • 1 oz coffee liqueur (Kahlua works well)
  • .5 oz vodka
  • 1 oz chocolate syrup
  • 1 spoon of peanut or almond butter
  • 9 oz vanilla ice cream

Add the spirits and chocolate sauce to the blender. Add three scoops of vanilla ice cream (about 9 oz). Blend on low speed. When it starts to become smooth, add the peanut butter (we use Reese’s peanut sauce, but any peanut or almond butter will work). Pour into a 12-oz. glass, and top with whipped cream and toppings, such as Reese’s Pieces, crushed peanuts or a mini Peanut butter cup. Extra credit for a cherry.

“There are few things that make this cocktail appealing — it’s an almost universally loved flavor combination, and this recipe is also very forgiving,” says Morton. “You could use brandy or bourbon, crème de cocoa in place of coffee liquor, or you could make it without alcohol. And there’s potential for modification. People request adding banana, raspberry or strawberry. You could even try bacon.”

Mr Black
Mr Black

Mr Black Boozy Affogato Cocktail Recipe 
Via Mr. Black

  • 1 scoop of quality ice cream 
  • 1.5 oz. Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur 

Take a generous scoop of ice cream (your choice of flavor) and drop into a dessert cocktail glass. Pour Mr Black over the top and wait for the ice cream to slowly drizzle into the liquid. Generously sprinkle your choice of crunchy garnish.

Montelobos ice cream
Courtesy of Danielle Crouch

Montelobos Violette Ice Cream
Danielle Crouch, Jammyland (Las Vegas)

The following works well in any automated machine. You can also do it manually in an old- school churner. Whatever the method, the bowl remaining frozen is a must.

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (please ensure it’s real vanilla)
  • 1 oz runny honey (3:1 honey:water)
  • A barspoon (.125 oz) of Pastis
  • Montelobos Mezcal
  • Violette
  • Crumbled Nilla Wafers

Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible! Throw the booze in the freezer and the cordials in a fridge. Crank up the cooling in there, too. All of this aids the cohesion of ingredients.

Blend first four ingredients in a blender/Vitamix. Spin the mixture in the ice cream maker until ingredients have the consistency of soft serve (approx. 20 minutes). If the ice cream is too hard, it’s okay to mix the ice cream and the spirits in the blender before returning them to the ice cream maker to continue spinning. Add 1 oz. Montelobos Mezcal and 3 oz. violette (we enjoy using The Bitter Truth). At the mix-in phase towards the end of the spin cycle (most machines will prompt you): add Pastis and honey + 2 oz. of Nilla Wafer Crumble.

When the cycle is complete carefully remove all of the ice cream from the bowl. It’s best packed densely into a metal container and covered with wax paper. Air-tightly wrap it in plastic and place it as close to the center of your freezer as possible. Let it firm overnight. This base works well with most anything you can think of.

“It’s no smoke bomb, but it isn’t an overly refined bottling, either,” says Crouch. “The rusticity and terroir are intact. You can really dig into the vegetal notes. The violette (any quality bottling will do) teases out the floral notes of the agave while the honey bear hugs the smokiness of the spirit.” 

Prohibition Creamery
Prohibition Creamery

Bourbon Brown Sugar Milkshake 
Via Laura Aidan of Prohibition Creamery (Austin, TX)

  • 8 oz. vanilla ice cream
  • 1 oz. whole milk
  • 1 oz. Garrison Brothers bourbon (or any bourbon of your choice)
  • .5 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 oz. salted caramel sauce
  • Whipped cream: Add a splash of bourbon if making your own whipped cream
  • Garnish: Mini bourbon caramel apple pie

Swirl the inside of a glass with a drizzle of salted caramel. In a blender, add ice cream, milk, bourbon, brown sugar and salted caramel and blend on high until thick. Add a little extra milk if needed. Pour into glass and top with whipped cream and a mini apple pie.

“Who doesn’t love top-shelf bourbon for dessert?” says Aidan. “The richness of the ice cream combined with brown sugar, salted caramel and a nice bourbon makes this a delicious fall sipper.”


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