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20 Cool Ice Cream Cocktails to Try Across America

Booze spiked with ice cream? Or ice cream spiked with booze?

Butter & Scotch's Bloodhound milkshake
Butter & Scotch's Bloodhound milkshake
Photo by Butter & Scotch

This season bartenders across the country are matching everyone's two favorite summer treats to make hot evenings that much more enjoyable. Ice cream with booze makes for decadent, creamy, and refreshing cocktails, whether it be an updated classic like a Grasshopper or a potent take on the root beer float.

Austin

Liberty Kitchen

Location: 507 Pressler Street #700, Austin, TX
Bartender: Luke Andes and Luke Carillo
Cocktail: Velvet Elvis ($11) with frozen vanilla custard, house-infused blackberry vodka, amaretto, muddled fresh blackberries, shaved dark chocolate and a mint sprig.
A boozy shake that evokes the decadence of the overindulgent Elvis in that kitschy painting. "It's super buttery because of the custard and has a brightness because of the fresh fruit," says general manager Luke Andes. That splash of amaretto rounds things out.

Photo by Liberty Kitchen

Vince Young Steakhouse

Location: 301 San Jacinto Boulevard, Austin, TX
Bartender: Laura Brown
Cocktail: Wine Shake ($12) with housemade ice cream blended with Vince Young Steakhouse’s private label wine Eleven Ten Cabernet Sauvignon "Wildcatter."
This off-menu treat has been a hit since it was created by Laura Brown (executive chef Phillip Brown’s wife/co-owner of Vince Young Steakhouse) during the planning stages of the restaurant’s dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. To make it extra special, request a drizzle of their homemade chocolate syrup.

Photo by Courtney Pierce

Chicago

312 Chicago

Location: 136 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL
Bartender: Jennifer Knott
Cocktail: Negroni Float ($13) with Campari-infused gelato, Aviation Gin, Carpano Antica and a Prosecco float. 
The Italian restaurant by chef Luca Corazzina wanted to serve a seasonal classic Negroni so it sourced Campari-infused gelato from Illinois' Angelo Gelato Italiano. The result, according to bartender Jennifer Knott, is "a creamy, slightly bittersweet and herbaceous taste that melts into the cocktail to give it a refreshing twist."

Photo by 312 Chicago

Promontory

Location: 1539 E. 53 Street, Chicago, IL
Bartender: Dustin Drankiewicz
Cocktail: Pink Squirrel ($10) with "Noyaux" vodka, Crème de Cacao and heavy cream.
This is a twist on an ice cream drink inspired by bartender Dustin Drankiewicz's favorite cocktail and incorporates a house "noyaux" infusion (dried apricots, cherries, baking spices) "and a subtle Wu Tang Clan reference ["Cash Rules Everything Around Me"], just because I like to party."

Photo by Promontory

The Whistler

Location: 2421 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL
Bartenders: Eric Henry, Billy Helmkamp and Rob Brenner
Cocktail: Hot Buttered Tequila ($8) with ice cream-based batter (French vanilla ice cream, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, Angostura bitters), boiling water, and reposado tequila and served in a warm mug garnished with grated nutmeg.
This hot ice cream cocktail is a tasty oxymoron for rainy summer nights. Think, hot buttered rum with earthy flavors thanks to the aged tequila plus creaminess courtesy of the French vanilla ice cream. The team actually tried making this drink with different spirits but the reposado tequila's hint of vanilla from the bourbon barrels complemented the flavors best.

Photo by The Whistler

Denver

Sassafras American Eatery

Location: 2637 W 26th Avenue, Denver, CO
Bartender: Julia Grother and Richard Stewart
Cocktail: Blackberry and lavender gin milkshake ($9) with organic blackberries, vanilla bean ice cream, housemade hibiscus syrup and lavender-infused gin.
A milkshake cocktail light enough to enjoy during brunch at Sassafras but boozy enough to be felt. The Denver eatery also has a Grasshopper shake but for something different and summer-appropriate, the gin milkshake is berry and floral.

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

Los Angeles

BarToni's

Location: 4745 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA
Bartender: Garrett McKechnie
Cocktail: Grasshopper ($14) with Tempus Fugit crème de cacao and crème de menthe, Fernet Branca, Aviation gin and vanilla ice cream.
This Grasshopper recipe is lovingly stolen from Portland's Jeffrey Morgenthaler, according to BarToni's general manager Aidan Demarest, who renovated the bar at the 59-year-old North Hollywood restaurant. However, BarToni's Grasshopper is super-sized at 17 ounces of minty delightfulness.

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

Hatchet Hall

Location: 12517 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA
Bartender: Cappy Sorentino
Cocktail: Root Beer Float ($15) with housemade root beer gin and tonic (Aviation gin and tonic/root beer soda), vanilla bean and Angostura caramel swirl ice cream.
At the newly opened Hatchet Hall, barman Cappy Sorentino worked with restaurant pastry chef Paige Russell to create the ultimate root beer float for grown-ups: a house made and house carbonated root beer tonic with gin poured over two scoops of vanilla bean and Angostura caramel ice cream. The root beer isn't syrupy sweet like A&W but will satisfy those with a sweet tooth and a discerning palate thanks to its natural botanicals of licorice, sarsaparilla, vanilla, allspice, cinnamon and clove.

Photo by Hatchet Hall

Kendall's Brasserie

Location: 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA
Bartender: Jean Pierre Bosc
Cocktail: Green Chartreuse milkshake ($7) with Green Chartreuse, milk and vanilla ice cream.
This decadent milkshake, which is on the restaurant's newly launched La Terrasse menu, features the herbaceous 110-proof green liqueur that is enhanced and sweetened thanks to the creamy vanilla ice cream. "As with any liqueur, the flavor of the spirit shines through and in milkshake form ends on a sweet note," says chef and milkshake creator Jean Pierre Bosc.

Photo by Kendall's Brasserie

Sambar

Location: 9531 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, CA
Bartender: Clare Ward and Alan Schulman
Cocktail: Smuggling Monk Sundae ($19) with coffee-infused scotch, Carpano Antica, coconut liqueur, chocolate bitters, Angostura bitters poured over soft serve vanilla ice cream.
Sambar co-owner Alan Schulman was enjoying a sundae at chef Akasha Richmond's new restaurant when bartender Clare Ward served him her coffee scotch cocktail, the Smuggling Monk. "They tasted so good together, I ended up pouring it on the dessert menu! The drink has every flavor that works with the sundaechocolate, coconut, coffee! Plus the whiskey and the bitters. The sweet vanilla soft serve rounds everything out," says Schulman.

Photo by Sambar

The Walker Inn

Location: 3612 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Bartender: Alex Day and Devon Tarby
Cocktail: The In-N-Out ($18) with vanilla ice cream, strawberry syrup and cacao. 
This cocktail setup is inspired by the beloved SoCal hamburger joint, In-N-Out, and is currently available on The Walker Inn's California menu. The bar goes all out to re-create the illusion of a tasty drive-through experience, serving this Neapolitan shake inspired cocktail with a bowl of shoestring potato sticks on a red plastic tray.

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

The Wallace

Location: 3833 Main Street, Culver City, CA
Bartender: Rebecca Morris
Cocktail: The Snakebite ($12) with peanut butter stout ice cream, housemade Irish cream and Crème de Mure granita.
Pastry chef Rebecca Morris wanted to create a grown-up soda fountain drink a la a boozy brown cow float. "We have this really great peanut butter stout that I wanted to use for ice cream and thought 'what goes better with peanut butter than jelly?'" asks Morris. So she topped the dessert with blackberry liqueur, added a housemade Irish cream to round it out with a little bit of soda water, and included the granita for texture.

Photo by The Wallace

New York City

Butter & Scotch

Location: 818 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Bartender: Allison Kave
Cocktail: Bloodhound milkshake ($16) with Caorunn Gin, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, vanilla ice cream and strawberry ice cream.
For World Gin Day in June, Butter & Scotch created a Bloodhound milkshake which was inspired by the classic 1920s cocktail. This boozy dessert upgrades the clasic with small-batch Scottish gin Caorunn, sweet and dry vermouth, and vanilla and strawberry ice cream.

Momofuku Milk Bar Williamsburg

Location: 382 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Bartender: Christina Tosi
Cocktail: Chocolate Malt Cake Fancy Shake ($10) with cereal milkshake blended with three chocolate malt truffles, plus vodka and Kahlua.
Momofuku Milk Bar discovered how to make its chocolate malt cake truffles even more addictive, serve it as a boozy shake.

Photo by Kat Odell

Portland

Pepe Le Moko

Location: 407 SW 10th Avenue, Portland, OR
Bartender: Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Cocktail: Grasshopper ($14) with crèmes de menthe et cacao, vanilla ice cream, Fernet Branca and sea salt.
There are two must-try cocktails at Morgenthaler's Pepe Le Moko, the Improved Amaretto Sour and this one. Both are held in high regard as "crappy" cocktails reborn. But his Grasshopper is an astonishing example of how the herbaceous Fernet and salt can elevate and add complexity to this old after-dinner drink.

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

San Diego

Soda & Swine

Location: 2750 Dewey Road #104, San Diego, CA
Bartender: Anthony Schmidt
Cocktail: Raspberry Parfait ($9) with St. George raspberry liqueur, La Caravedo pisco, raspberries and vanilla ice cream.
Soda and Swine's raspberry parfait appears to be an innocent but decadent milkshake and tastes like vanilla ice cream with tart raspberry swirls. But the acidity of St. George raspberry liqueur breaks up the decadence of the vanilla, and makes for a fruity and refreshing milkshake, according to drink creator Anthony Schmidt.

Photo by Soda & Swine

San Francisco

Clock Bar

Location: 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Bartender: Abby Martinie
Cocktail: Shirley’s Soda Fountain ($14) with 209 gin, aloe, lime, mint, soda water, and peach and coconut ice cream.
"I love this cocktail because it evokes a childhood whimsical feelingas if you’re sitting at an old fashioned soda fountain," says lead bartender Abby Martinie. To counterbalance the tartness of the peach sorbet in this cocktail Martinie added a coconut sorbet. The mix of citrus-forward gin, aloe liqueur, and mint are then served over the sorbets which melt, changing the flavors.

Photo by Kevin McCullough

The Corner Store

Location: 5 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Bartender: Daniel Ames
Cocktail: Rosemary's Baby ($11) with vanilla ice cream, crème de violette, cherry syrup, olive oil, St. George Botanivore Gin, pink peppercorn salt and a rosemary sprig garnish.
Bar manager Daniel Ames brings the Aviation cocktail to new heights in his milkshake version. Olive oil adds a savory element. The use of cherry syrup brings in the fruity note balancing the shake's sweetness and savoriness, while the pink peppercorn enhances the umami.

Photo by The Corner Store

Ice Cream Bar/Soda Fountain

Location: 815 Cole Street, San Francisco, CA
Bartender: Juliet Pries
Cocktail: The Dublin Honey ($11) with Guinness stout, caramelized honey ice cream, Valrhona chocolate syrup and a Graham’s 10 year tawny port float.
The Dublin Honey was inspired by an 80-degree St. Patrick's Day and is so popular that it's stayed on the menu ever since. "The roasted barley in Guinness pairs well with our caramelized honey ice cream," says owner Juliet Pries. While the float of Graham’s 10 year tawny port puts it over the top by adding more caramel and honey flavor … and alcohol.

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

Tap(415)

Location: Westfield San Francisco Centre, 845 Market St, San Francisco, CA
Bartender: Zack Hirsekorn and Elmer Mejicanos
Cocktail: Smoke in the Morning ($12) with Caol Ila scotch, coffee ice cream, whipped cream and hazelnut brittle.
For this adult milkshake, smokey scotch is blended with housemade coffee ice cream then poured into a glass spritzed with more scotch and topped with whipped cream and a hazelnut brittle. "Smoke and coffee go together in many ways," claims drink creator Zack Hirsekorn. "Try it with Caol Ila and our coffee ice cream and you’ll never want it any other way."

Photo by Tap(415)

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