bourbon ice cream

bourbon ice creamOh, hello. Things have been pretty quiet around here, and I’d like to blame it on the spring, but the truth is I just needed some time. Brian and I have been taking a step back and finding the direction we want to head. With a lot of things really (that sounds somehow ominous and I don’t mean it that way at all–things are great, we just want to approach the blog more mindfully). And with our baby almost 10 months old (Can you believe it? Remember when this happened?) crawling and pulling up, and eating literally anything she can get her tiny mitts on, what little free time we had has dwindled.

Nonetheless, I made you some ice cream. Bourbon ice cream. I really like whiskey and bourbon and rye, but thanks to said baby, and her nursing habit, I’ve been laying off the hard stuff. Since 2010 actually. So when our good friend (and excellent gift-giver) Lily gave us a bottle of Noah’s Mill handmade barrel-aged Kentucky bourbon for Christmas, it hit me where it hurt. But I made a plan. Bourbon ice cream would be mine. Eventually. And a couple weeks ago I finally got around to making some.

There are a lot of recipes out there, and some call for mere tablespoons of bourbon. But you should know by now that I’m not messing around. If I’m going to make bourbon ice cream, it’s going to be boozy as hell. I’m not making this for a tea party. So when I found this recipe from Doletto Confections adapted from the ice cream god himself, David Lebovitz, I knew I’d found the recipe. What we have here is a rich, creamy ice cream that has a pronounced woodsy, smoky bourbon flavor–good enough to make you think that bourbon and cream should have gotten together a long time ago.

bourbon ice cream

bourbon whiskey

Owing to the booziness, this ice cream is very melty, and so it should be chilled thoroughly before churning, cured for a while, and served maybe even in chilled bowls.

Bourbon Ice Cream
(adapted from Dolcetto Confections by way of David Lebovitz)

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup bourbon

Combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat. Put the yolks in a heat-proof bowl and whisk lightly. When the cream mixture is starting to steam and tiny bubbles have formed along the edge, whisk a cup or so, ¼ cup at a time, into the yolks. The idea here is the raise the temperature of the eggs so they won’t curdle when added to cream. Once the eggs are tempered, slowly whisk them into the cream mixture. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat roughly 5 minutes, or until the cream mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Turn off heat and stir in the bourbon and vanilla extract.

Pour into a large bowl, cover, and chill in your refrigerator for a long time–5 hours or more is optimal. (For the best, slightly faster, chill, place the bowl of custard over a bowl of ice water.) Then process according to your ice-cream maker’s instructions, noting that the ice cream could be quite runny even after 20 – 30 minutes of churning. Spoon ice cream out of ice cream maker and freeze for as long as you can, preferably overnight for a well-cured scoop.


  1. says

    After gorging myself on the Secret Breakfast ice cream at Humphry Slocoumb in San Francisco, I’ve been looking for a good bourbon ice cream recipe. Now I just need to figure out what they do to the corn flakes. Looking forward to making (actually, who am I kidding — eating) this!

  2. says

    This sounds absolutely amazing. It is going on my ever growing list of things to make, but because it contains bourbon, it might be going straight to the top! Cheers!

  3. says

    @Katie, Thanks! So nice meeting you last week. I hope we’ll cross paths again soon.
    @Hillary, Secret Breakfast ice cream? I’ve been meaning to get out to SF, and now I have yet another great reason.
    @Lauren, I think it would be fantastic with pretty much any cocktail-worthy whiskey.
    @Mallory, I hope you do get the chance to make it–there’s something so joyous about ice cream that makes you a little tipsy. Cheers!

  4. says

    That looks AMAZING. My husband would LOVE this. He loves Rum Raisin ice cream so I am certain he’d love this too!

    p.s. Congrats on 10 months! That’s such a fun (but SUPER busy age)! We have a teeny-tiny place with our little crew (of 4 wild ones) and trust me, I know how it goes! In fact, I don’t know how food bloggers do it. I am so impressed with you guys. Sometimes, sometimes, I post about recipes that I find (and that are easy and a hit with our family) and so I somewhat know the work that goes into it with a busy crew around. No small feat–especially when you do it right like you do it here!

  5. says

    I don’t know what I loved more, your candor or the recipe. Shaun just looked over at me and asked me what I was smiling about, reading this. Cheers :)

  6. says

    Oh boy, this is wonderful trouble. I recently admitted to liking whiskey and bourbon in a group of girls and you should have seen their heads spin and the questions come. They are so missing out. Last Sept. we were in SF and I had Bourbon Pecan Ciao Bella gelato and I remember how drippy and delicious it was. Yum!

  7. says

    Ooooh, girl. Now this is just damn sexy. The combination of my two favorite things, ice cream and bourbon, could be really dangerous to me. I can’t wait to give this a try– it looks utterly divine.

  8. says

    I searched everywhere for a bourbon ice cream recipe, and loved yours! I used corn starch instead of egg yolks and brown sugar. It came out great. Thanks for sharing your recipe and being so descriptive.

  9. Matt says

    Looks like a great recipe. I’ve got some fresh peaches. Would it work to throw in some peach? The two flavors seem like they would work together. Mas recipes de bourbon please.

    • says

      Hi Matt, Sure! For optimal flavor, you may want to roast the peaches first. Otherwise, macerate them in a little sugar, and then mash or puree, and add just as the ice cream is taking shape in the ice cream maker. There are some fruit-based ice cream recipes on the site, you might want to take a look at some of those for reference. Enjoy!

  10. Mark Z says

    How much does this make? I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker that makes 1.5 quarts at a time, so I have to adapt each recipe to that amount.

  11. Laura says

    Wow! Now I will use my ice cream maker all the time! I just made some in preparation for a Derby party (you can take the girl out of Kentucky, but…), and I am having a hard time not eating all of this before Saturday. Thanks!

  12. april says

    I am making this ice cream for Christmas but may not have time to do a test run so I just wanted to ask you one question that may seem silly. When I chill it I am putting it in the frig for 5 hours over ice, correct? Not in the freezer? Thanks april

    • says

      Hi April, You’re correct. You want to chill the custard thoroughly in the refrigerator before churning it into ice cream in an ice cream maker. If it’s over ice, three hours may do the trick. It just has to be completely cold before churning.

      Once it’s chilled in the fridge, churn it, and then cure it well in the freezer for a stint overnight if you have the time. The high alcohol content means it has a lower freeze point, so these steps help to ensure a frozen (not super melty) finished product. (Also, I’ll add some clarification to the recipe to make sure that’s clear.) Thanks so much for commenting!


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