31 5 / 2013

Boozy Savory Cocktail Ice Creams!


I am very lucky that I live within walking distance of RAMEKIN (Los Angeles) so last night my friends and I were the first customers in line to taste Matthew Biancaniello's trio of exotic boozy savory ice creams.

Copying menu from laist.com… From L to R (clockwise):

*Tequila squid ink ice cream topped with red fish eggs, passion fruit, and coffee infused Cynar, lemon verbena cream & radish blossoms.

*Parmesan ice cream withlemon zest, dehydrated olives, chipotle infused olive oil, Manzanilla sherry with pink chive blossoms, sprinkled with flower blossoms & rum-marinated surinam cherries.

*Laphroaig with chocolate covered blanched garlic, topped with Matthew’s signature Never Let Me Go (Cynar cassis and blood orange), toasted saffron, and blood orange slices… and peppers

The tequila squid ink was our favorite … also the favorite of the guy sitting at the next table, and MB himself. It was the least salty of the three and had the most amazing combination of flavors. The saffron laphroaig was nice and had a touch of spice and citrus; and the parmesan flavor was much more subtle than expected. Neither of us liked the dehydrated olives… which was the saltiest element in the ice cream trio, and the rum-marinated surinam cherries were like, wow. They taste like spicy tomatoes! The whole experience was pretty exotic and cool. 

I am personally not into savory ice creams but I have friends who have enjoyed the Bacon, Soy Sauce, Salt & Pepper, and Thai Curry ice creams that I have made. 

After this Ramekin tasting experience, I am now re-inspired to experiment with a few more savory-sweet flavors. Example: the less classy but no less intriguing idea of a Honey Vegemite ice cream. 

And MORE BOOZE! …NOT with the vegemite, though. :)


04 7 / 2012

Extra boozy ice creams!

When I first read this blog post on how to make cocktail-flavored ice creams that not only taste extra boozy but that can actually get you drunk, I immediately ordered a Kindle copy of Ice Cream Happy Hour: 50 Boozy Treats That You Spike and Freeze At Home by Valerie Lum and Jenise Addison.

The authors use at least 1/2 cup of alcohol in their boozy ice creams - which is usually too much alcohol for ice cream to freeze properly. (The typical amount is 1/4 cup per quart)

Their answer is gelatin, which is first dissolved in water, then mixed with alcohol and used to spike the chilled ice cream base before churning.

Alas, I am a weekday vegetarian and have many vegetarian friends so gelatin is a problem. I have been Googling around for a replacement ratio for xanthan gum, and all I could find was this article, which says “Measure out half the amount of xanthan gum in lieu of the full amount of gelatin that a recipe calls for”.

In most cases, the boozy ice cream recipes in Ice Cream Happy Hour call for 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of gelatin. 1/4 - 1/2 tablespoon of xanthan gum seems like a lot…

Anyway, I am sharing here my first extra boozy ice cream experiment: White Russian Ice Cream, adapting the recipe from Ice Cream Happy Hour where I  thicken the base with Jeni’s method (corn starch instead of eggs) and replace the gelatin with half the amount of xanthan gum.

Xanthan gum does not dissolve in alcohol so it has to be prehydrated in a water-based solution. Using a stick blender, I added 1/2 TB of xanthan gum to 1/3 cup of water and the result was something that looked like goopy hair gel. (EEK) I then blended in 2/3 cup of Kahlua and 2/3 cup of Vodka (Yes, really! This much!) and got a scary-looking coffee-colored viscous substance, which I strained and whisked into the chilled ice cream base…

Whew. This looks more like a normal ice cream custard now.

30 minutes later, I am perturbed to report that the thick and creamy mixture had not firmed up any more in the machine. However, this is exactly how the ice cream looks in the authors’ own ‘White Russian ice cream’ video so maybe I got it right. Let’s hope it firms up in the freezer in a few hours from now. So far, it has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and I will not be driving any time soon.

If you have any tips to share on making extra boozy ice creams, please do! Especially on combining alcohol with xanthan gum. I am also curious if agar would be a better replacement for gelatin.

Next: Chocolatini Ice Cream.

*PS. I will be making the White Russian ice cream again and experimenting with way less xanthan gum and also agar and/or guar gum.