There is a high hassle factor and the mixology is surprisingly complicated, but the reward of a perfectly mixed spiked milk shake is well worth the effort.
For potent ice cream cocktails, the go-to venue is the revamped Kaiser’s American Bistro, 1039 N. Walker. Long a hot spot for homemade ice cream, Kaiser’s now has a full bar and a selection of spiked milk shakes. General manager Robby Brookshire said the recently reworked drink menu is the result of months of experimentation.
“Everyone assumes that just because it is ice cream, it will be awesome, but if youhave too much of a certain ingredient, it will be pretty overwhelming,” Brookshire said. “Just like any other cocktail, the key is to get the exact recipes just right.”
Brookshire said the new customer favorite is called “A Bit of Honey.” It is made with three-fourths of an ounce of Crown Royal, three-fourths of an ounce of Wild Turkey American Honey liqueur, a tablespoon of honey and two scoops of vanilla ice cream.
“It used to just be the honey whiskey, but it had too much of a scotch taste to it. When I added the Crown, it gave a nice caramel aspect to the flavor profile,” Brookshire said. “It was just a drink I was experimenting with, and I’d give it to a customer, telling them, ‘I’m thinking of adding this to the menu.’ Then they’d come in with a group of their friends, all curious because they’d heard about the drink.”
Brookshire said that each shake has two scoops of ice cream, which offers the best balance. Vodka is the easiest spirit to work with because it has such a neutral taste, whereas tequila has befuddled Brookshire’s best attempts.
With that in mind, my wife and I attempted to craft a few ice cream cocktails on our own.
The first few rounds resulted in mostly indistinct sludges of sugary cream. It wasn’t until we brought in additional elements, like beer, cider or coffee, that we stumbled upon complex and interesting cocktails.
If you want to leave the concoction to the pros, Republic Gastropub, 5830 N. Classen, has an ice cream beer float on the menu made with Young’s Chocolate Stout or Lindeman’s Framboise with vanilla ice cream.
The big winner at home was coffee mixed with chocolate-coconut milk ice cream, whiskey and a splash of either Kahlua or Grand Marnier.
The at-home experiments were also spread out over several nights, since ice cream cocktails are pretty heavy and it was hard to stomach more than a couple of cocktails in one sitting. That’s pretty standard, according to Brookshire.
“Most people will usually stop at two, since that is four scoops of ice cream and they will get full,” he said. “I do have one lady that comes in, and she will drink five of them in the course of a meal.”