A:What’s better than ice cream? It’s not a purely rhetorical question. The answer? Grown-up ice cream, spiked with wine, beer, and spirits. As the summer heat cranks to high, head to one of these regional ice cream spots for a shot of cool, creamy delight.
Cayuga Lake Creamery
Interlaken, New York
Set along the Cayuga Wine Trail, it’s no wonder this shop blends local wine into its sorbets, with flavors ranging from the Americana Vineyard Barn Raising Red Dark Cherry Sorbet to the Swedish Hill Vineyard Doobie Blues Orange Sorbet. The Nut Brown Ale ice cream features the toasted notes of its signature ingredient, beer from the Ithaca Brewery, and the Mudslide flavor features a triple shot of Kahlúa, vodka, and Irish Cream liqueur.
This gelateria crafts its creations with a conscience. The company, with four shops and a soon-to-be-launched online store, uses locally grown ingredients prepared by hand—from squeezed citrus juice to smoked spices. Dolcezza churns out unusual flavors like avocado-honey-orange. The sorbets-turned-cocktails often feature bourbon, vodka, and Southern Comfort, which shows up in a yellow-peach treat.
Purple Door Ice Cream
This enterprising shop teamed with neighboring Great Lakes Distillery to serve two craft products for the price of one. Try the Kinnickinnic Whiskey or Whiskey Bacon flavors. Purple Door once offered an absinthe variety for a retro-taboo chill-thrill.
Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream
Cool off with the creative (think lavender-honey or pineapple upside-down cake) flavors at this local ice cream parlor located on downtown Columbia’s busiest street. If you’re 21 or older, opt for a couple scoops of the creamy Les Bourgeois and Ghirardelli, which mixes local vino with gourmet chocolate chunks. If milkshakes are more your style, order the White Russian (vanilla ice cream, vodka, and Kahlúa) or a simple Guinness float.
The desert does dessert, and does it well. In this heatscape, go for the cool comfort of chocolate-Guinness ice cream. And, if you’d like, this artisanal shop will turn your scoop into an ice cream sandwich, pressing it between fresh-made chocolate chip cookies.
Ice Cream Bar
San Francisco, California
At this Bay Area establishment, the ice cream may not be infused with booze, but the sodas sure are. Jerks mix “remedies” for the 21-and-over set that feature Angostura Bitters, tawny port, Sutton Cellars vermouth, Flemish red ales, and sparkling wine, among other ingredients. These fizzes-with-a-kick must surely be the cure for all that ails.
Bonus: Surprise! Ice cream could well be an ideal post-workout-recovery food. The sugar high can promote muscle building by preventing protein breakdown. Studies haven’t revealed the particular fitness benefits of boozy ice cream, but there’s sure to be some scientist—or athlete—who will soon put that decadent variety of frozen dessert to the test.