Remember that ice-cream maker you got a couple of years ago that was going to be a life-changing kitchen gadget, revolutionising dessert in your household? It’s sat unloved and unused in the back corner of the pantry ever since hasn’t it? Well, it’s time to drag that ice cream maker out of its early retirement and dust it off, because that dessert revolution is coming your way at long last. For the grown-ups, at least.
As you no doubt are aware, vanilla is a flavour you’ll often find in the tasting notes of whisky, and it’s also one of the Holy Trinity of ice cream flavours, so it seems only logical that the two should be combined into one to create the ultimate after-dinner treat. That’s right folks, whisky ice cream!
Rather than make a huge mess (and waste a lot of the good stuff) experimenting with developing our own recipe, we thought we would do what most people do these days, and Google it… Low and behold our friends at Whisky Advocate magazine in the USA have a couple of great whisky ice-cream recipes, which we’ve converted to metric so the rest of the world can understand them, and shared for you below.
Plain Custard Base Whisky Ice Cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup whisky
Grab a medium to large saucepan, add the milk, cream, and around half of the sugar. Cook over high heat, giving it a gentle stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. This should take about 5 minutes.
While that’s going, take a medium bowl and whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until it’s smooth, heavy, and pale yellow, about 30 seconds should do it.
Just as the cream mixture comes to a boil, give it a whisk (no, not the whisky yet), remove from heat, and slowly pour half of it over the yolk-sugar mixture, but make sure you constantly whisk the combining mixtures until they’re completely blended. (This is called tempering the eggs and stops them from scrambling.)
With the pan back on the stove on low heat, and again whisking constantly, slowly pour the yolk-cream mixture back into the pan.
Take a wooden spoon and keep stirring until the mixture gets to around 74 to 82 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (another of those great gadgets you bought once, right?), this will take around 2 minutes. Don’t go above 82 degrees, or you’ll run the risk of the eggs scrambling. By now the mixture should be starting to thicken and should coat the back of the spoon, there should be steam rising, but it certainly shouldn’t be boiling. (If you blow on the back of the spoon and the mixture ripples, you’ve nailed it.)
Now comes the moment we’ve been waiting for. That’s right. Time to stir in the whisky.
Once that’s done, pour your ice cream mixture into a clean, airtight container and put it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours, then follow your ice cream machine’s instructions to finish.
There’s a bit of work in that recipe and a lot of sugar. Here’s one that’s a bit simpler…
Philadelphia Style Whisky Ice Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons whisky of choice
- Ice cubes
Combine the cream and milk together in a bowl. Add the sugar and give it a good whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is nice and smooth. We don’t want to be able to see any sugar on the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and whisky.
Now you need to chill the mixture in an ice bath. Find a bowl that’s bigger than the one your mixture is in and fill it around halfway with ice cubes. Pour in enough cold water to just cover the ice. Sit the bowl with ice cream mixture into the ice and let it cool for 30 to 45 minutes, then cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for anywhere between 3 and 24 hours, then follow your ice cream machine’s instructions to finish.
Well, nearly simple… but here are a few tips worth bearing in mind…
Alcohol doesn’t freeze. Ice cream should be firm. You can gently simmer the whisky in a pan to evaporate some of the alcohol away, but this sounds like a terrible waste to us, so we’d suggest just not putting too much whisky in, that way the whisky comes to the party and you’ll still have some left in the bottle to enjoy after you’re done in the kitchen. No more than ¼ cup per 1.5 litres of ice cream mixture. Similarly, salt reduces the freezing temperature, so if you are working off a recipe that calls for salt, don’t add too much at all. Perhaps a salty Island or Islay whisky might make up for the reduced salt anyhow.
The whisky should be the last thing you add to the mixture. That’s the best way to ensure you don’t add too much (or too little!).
One last tip, when you’re serving up your ice cream, a bit like how a dram develops in flavour with a bit of time in the glass, the flavour will really start to come through from the ice cream after around 15 minutes, or when you notice a bit of glaze start to appear on the top. So, get it out of the freezer, sit it on the bench, pour some drams and take your time. Just don’t let it melt too much.
Once you’ve mastered your recipe, you can start experimenting with adding extra flavours, like chocolate, nuts, marshmallow, honeycomb, coffee, or anything else that takes your fancy. Let us know if you try making your own whisky ice cream in the comments below. We’d love to know which whiskies you’ve tried, and what extra flavours you’ve added to your own home-made whisky ice cream.