Did I ever mention that I’m alcohol-intolerant?… No? Probably because I just recently figured this out.
Well, I started figuring it out in college when I attempted to be one of the cool kids and get drunk at parties. Turned out I was never very good at it then.
But no worries, because there’s no booze in Baghdad right? (Uhh, wrong. Where there’s State Department, there’s probably also a straining quota of Johnny Walker and Franzia)
Uh, okay. Well, once people get real jobs they don’t really just go out and get drunk…right? (Oh wait, happy hour? Nothing about this event makes me happy)
But the thing is, I appreciate the complexities of certain alcoholic beverages. I can sip some of Farrell’s black-as-night stouts and enjoy the malty flavors and deep chocolatey undertones. I can understand how a full-bodied red wine heightens the experience of eating a slice of smelly cheese.
And, I can savor the scent of a well-crafted whiskey. Amber-hued and floral-scented, with a sweetness that I can never quite figure out.
But I can’t drink it straight. Unfortunately, I can only consume alcohol in ice cream form.
Before you start rummaging through your liquor cabinet and herb garden, I should warn you that this was pretty experimental. The inspiration to make it came while I was shoving my face with the most awesome red-cabbage/raman slaw ever at a friend’s house, when I heard another friend utter the phrase “bourbon mint ice cream“. Truthfully (sorry Adam!) I didn’t actually hear the context of the story, I think I was in a state of bliss over the slaw mixed with sleep deprivation/brain drain from my new job. I just looked at him and said, “Mmm!”
The next day, I googled it and found a “mint julep gelato” recipe (I don’t drink enough cocktails to know at the time that bourbon + mint = mint julep). The recipe called for an uncomfortable amount of bourbon and begged me not to cook off any of the alcohol.
You must preserve the booze! Otherwise, what’s the point of putting alcohol in ice cream?
If you insist, sir.
But it didn’t freeze right, and it tasted something close to cleaning solution.
I couldn’t waste it though. So I re-melted it, gently cooked the liquid for several minutes and burned off the sharp flavor, re-froze it in the ice cream machine and let it harden in the freezer…again.
And it worked! Admittedly, the double-process did leave the end result with some issues, like a slick mouth-feel and overall funk.
Lesson learned: get it right the first time.
(btw. These awesome whiskey tumblers? Courtesy of my mom, who fully comprehends Farrell’s personality to always get him awesome gifts. Seriously, one Christmas she got him a stocking full of whiskey and floss…he was tickled. So shout out to mom!)
The day after the initial disaster, Adam sent me the exact recipe he referred to, which is what I’m sharing with y’all today. (It’s a Southern-themed dessert, the “y’all” is appropriate.) I hope you take my almost-failed dessert and turn it into your success.
– Booker’s Bourbon Mint Ice Cream – via Smoke and Spice
6 tbsp bourbon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
1 pint half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tbsp vanilla extract
– Warm up the bourbon and mint leaves in a small saucepan, medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep for about 15 minutes before straining bourbon into a double boiler.
– Add all remaining ingredients to the double boiler and whisk together. Cook for about 15 minutes, whisking constantly, until the custard thickens.
– Strain custard and let cool completely (several hours at least, overnight is best) before putting it through your ice cream maker.
– Process chilled custard in your ice cream maker and store in an airtight container in your freezer. Ice cream should be eaten within several days.