Gelato Jonny 17 – Should ice cream just be for kids?

Ice cream is often seen as a treat for the kids.  The words ‘ice cream’ often conjures up images in the minds of the great British public of families at the seaside, children with ice cream round their mouths, sunshine, happiness and fun. (Not a bad image really!) Ice cream is also frequently featured in illustrated alphabets ‘I is for ice cream’ so the link to children is strong.  However that doesn’t mean that ice cream is just for the younger generation.  In fact many ice cream and gelato makers ask me ‘should we make alcoholic ice cream flavours?’ – obviously not for children. So do I think we should make alcoholic flavoured ice cream?

This is the time of year that we lead up to what is traditionally a festive period with events including amongst others, bonfires and of course Christmas.  Who knows where all that will stand in the current environment with events cancelled due to restrictions on numbers and as local lockdowns become more widespread.  During this period we often think about different twists on flavours to incorporate festive spices and flavours.  This year should be no exception and maybe we need this more than ever for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly from a practical and economic perspective we need to extend our selling season as long as possible to try and recover from the lost months during the national lockdown.
  • Secondly we are all looking for ways to entice customers back to our parlours and gelaterias.
  • Finally as the days get shorter, the weather deteriorates and the news continues to be filled with worry we all need a pick me up and treats to get us through.

Eṭ Ṭaiyiba Pros and cons of making alcoholic ice cream flavours

The benefits of creating these flavours are:

  • that they appeal to adults
  • you might attract customers in an evening rather than just in the day time
  • you can create a unique flavour
  • you can use the brand of the alcohol to sell the ice cream

On the down side you also need to consider these factors:

  • alcohol affects the structure of ice cream and therefore its longevity
  • it may be more expensive than other flavours to create
  • you might need to check if you need an alcohol licence to sell it

However depending on when and/or where you are selling your alcoholic ice cream creation, maybe customers will pay a premium for it.  Consider how much you might spend on a gin and tonic or a cocktail on a night out.

Assuming you have decided to take the plunge and create an alcoholic ice cream lets look at the two methods of how to make it.

cytotec How to create alcohol flavoured ice cream or gelato

There are two main methods for creating alcohol flavoured ice cream.  You can either add the alcohol to your usual base or start from scratch with a new recipe.  As always there are positives and negatives to both methods.  There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way and it is often down to personal preference which you select. I will outline my suggestions and recommendations for both methods.  Firstly I always say to my customers – ‘do you want to pack a punch with your alcoholic ice cream or are you looking for a subtle aroma’?  If the latter is your answer then you can infuse the alcohol in the batch freezer with your normal base.  However if you are looking for a punchier result then you probably need to consider a new recipe

Method 1 – Add to base

This is the method used if you just want to create a subtle aroma of the alcohol you have chosen for your ice cream.

  1. I suggest you use an undertone of a flavour such as a light vanilla, toffee or caramel to set off the flavour of the alcohol.  To do this just use 10% of your usual dosage – if you usually use 25g then reduce that to 2-3g.
  2. However I would advise you not to mix the alcohol with the liquid base, but pour it into the batch freezer half way through the cycle.  Don’t use any more than 75ml of a 50% ABV for a 3.5kg of mix otherwise the antifreeze level will be too high and you risk a sloppy result.

Method 2 – New recipe

Personally I find the best receptor for alcohol is a sorbet as the water base works better than a milky base and the flavour spreads better through the mix.

  1. The ingredients you need are
    • emulsifier/stabiliser
    • higher amount of vegetable fibre than for a standard sorbet
    • maltodextrin
    • water and/or a drinks mixer of your choice such as tonic depending on your alcohol choice
    • sugar
    • alcohol of your choice
  1. Mix and age the dry ingredients and non alcoholic liquids
  2. If you have selected a brand with a lower alcohol content add half the alcohol pre-freezing and the other half during the batch freezing process.  This would apply to products such as Blue WKD.  If using a high alcohol content such as whisky, vodka or gin just add it all in the batch freezer.

What flavour?

The next question I get asked is which flavour or brand to select.  Really this is down to personal preference and knowing your own market demographic.  Here are a few points for consideration.

Look at trends, student areas, city centres:

  • Blue WKD
  • Dark fruits
  • Kopparberg
  • Jaegermeister

For classics where your market is aimed at middle aged adults maybe consider:

  • Prosecco
  • Gin & tonic

Or more traditional

  • Whisky
  • Vodka
  • Mulled wine

For a party venue or for a particular celebration you might also look at cocktail ideas.

As we all know it has been a tough year and it is not over yet so if there was ever a time where we might need a little tipple in our ice cream it is probably now.  If you need some advice on how to balance your particular choice of alcohol flavour with your ingredients then you know where to find me.

See you next time for the latest scoop, in the meantime I hope you enjoy the festive season as much as you can given the restrictions and stay safe.


Gelato Jonny Antonelli’s National Technical Manager Jonny Ireland is a regular contributor to the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…

See how this article looked in the November/December 2020 Edition of the ICA’s Ice Cream Magazine…

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