While their origins aren’t entirely known, boozy ice cream creations have been finding their way to the bar since at least the late 19th century. Cocktail recipe books from that era, along with ones from the 1920s and ’30s, include an array of drinks with ice cream at the forefront. Yet despite its rich history, the ice cream cocktail is rarely a bar’s leading drink. Perhaps it’s the sugar, fat and freezing temperatures (or a combination of all three factors)—each notoriously difficult to work with—that prevent ice cream from its place behind the bar.
This summer bartender Lynnette Marrero, Beverage Director for Brooklyn’s Llama Inn and founder of the annual all-female bartending competition Speed Rack, has been helping ice cream make its cocktail comeback, developing a line of drinks for Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream. The parlor picked Marrero for their first foray into cocktails, to create a lineup of unique drinks inspired by—and highlighting—the shop’s unconventional flavors.
Marrero says the first style of ice cream cocktails she thought of were in the line of Old-Fashioneds, because of the “endless combinations of syrups” she could use and the fact that Nicholas Morgenstern, founder of the shop, already uses bourbon and Japanese whisky in his flavors.
From there, Marrero focused on classic cocktail categories and styles, then adapted them to the ice cream flavors. “Morgenstern’s has a classic vibe and strives to make the American classic sundaes,” says Marrero. “I was inspired by this mission,” she says. The results: variations on a Daiquiri, Highball, Sgroppino and, of course, an Old-Fashioned.
A Codex for Ice Cream and Spirit Combinations
As she tested the ice cream cocktail recipes, Marrero found that, surprisingly, just about any spirit would do: “We even found gin, which seemed trickiest, to be successful,” says Marrero. That includes mezcal, which she used in the Banana Durian. The trick to finding the right spirit was in the combinations: Whiskey and rum pair best with nut flavored ice creams and chocolate, while agave spirits go well with tropical fruits, Marrero explained. Her favorite spirit to work with when going frozen? Rum. “We are working on a codex for all of the flavors, but rum really sings.”
While Marrero points out that Morgenstern’s has the tools to avoid the potential pitfalls that come with working with ice cream—handling temperatures, preventing meltage, and integrating liquid—regular bar and kitchen tools serve just fine. “The milkshake is a great example of how to integrate liquid into ice cream. If you do not have a milkshake machine, you can use a blender,” says Marrero.
Banana Durian Ice Cream Cocktail
By Lynnette Marrero and Morgenstern’s
2 ounces mezcal
1 ounce coconut cream
½ ounce agave
1 scoop banana durian ice cream (banana ice cream may be substituted)
Pinch of salt
¼ ounce egg white
Place all ingredients in a milkshake tin or blender. Pulse blend until mixed. Strain into a highball and top with club soda.
This cocktail recipe is a web exclusive.