Make Ice Cream Boozy At Home With Just One Easy Step

It doesn't matter if it's freezing outside, or you ate so much at dinner that you had to unbutton your pants — somehow, there's always room for ice cream, especially when it keeps your buzz going. Although dessert usually signals that the evening is coming to a close, boozy ice cream says, "Let's keep this party going." In one easy step, you can transform ice cream into your favorite cocktail by infusing it with alcohol.

To make boozy ice cream at home, start with a quart of your favorite frozen treat — ice cream, gelato, sorbet, or even vegan and non-dairy options. While this works for all flavors, a neutral base like vanilla, chocolate, and coffee enables you to really experiment with different alcohols. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or similar-shaped utensil, poke holes in the frozen ice cream, making room for the spirits. Ensure the channels reach the bottom of the container, so the booze is evenly distributed.

Slowly pour the alcohol on the ice cream surface, filling all the cavities. You can use any type of liquor you prefer — creamy, low-proof liqueurs like Kahlua, neutral spirits like vodka, or go fancy with some of the best champagne or sparkling wine for under $30. Cover the container and place it in the freezer for a few hours until the ice cream has firmed. When it's ready, serve the ice cream in a bowl since it will be softer and melt faster with the addition of alcohol. 

Tips for making boozy ice cream

When adding alcohol to ice cream, you don't need much. Commercial boozy ice cream is about 5% ABV, so it won't get you drunk (maybe a little happier). Adding too much alcohol will prevent everything from hardening since most kitchen freezers aren't cold enough to freeze alcohol.

For the best taste and texture, add up to four tablespoons when infusing a quart with 80-proof liquor (vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey). Two tablespoons will offer a hint, but there's no mistaking that there's alcohol in it when you add four. If you are replicating the flavor of a favorite cocktail, combine multiple liquors, bitters, and other ingredients before pouring them on the ice cream. For instance, to make a cosmopolitan-inspired dessert, mix two tablespoons of vodka, one of Cointreau (or any orange liquor you would use in a lemon drop martini), and lime zest into a cranberry-flavored sorbet or ice cream. Or add Malibu rum to pineapple sorbet for a take on a piña colada.

If you are working with lower-proof liqueurs like Baileys, use a bit more since they have a higher freezing point. Keep in mind, however, that too much alcohol may not taste good, so start slow. For chocolate martini ice cream, mix one tablespoon of Baileys Irish Cream, one tablespoon of chocolate liqueur (like Godiva), and two tablespoons of vodka with a quart of chocolate ice cream. Serve the dessert in glass cups drizzled with chocolate syrup for a sweet touch.

Boozy ice cream flavor combinations

This part is fun since there are endless flavor combinations you can create at home with a wide selection of booze and premium ice cream. One of the easiest adult ice creams to make is mixing vanilla bean ice cream with bourbon. The alcohol enhances the vanilla flavor, providing a complex taste that whiskey enthusiasts will appreciate. Top it with a whiskey-infused magic shell, and you have a buzz-worthy sundae. If you enjoyed the taste of creamsicles growing up, you could add orange-flavored liqueur like Grand Marnier to vanilla ice cream for a trip down memory lane.

You can also find inspiration in spiked coffees. For example, you can infuse coffee ice cream with Sambucca to create a licorice-flavored coffee ice cream that Italian restaurants might serve. Or add maple whiskey instead to make an Irish coffee ice cream. Alternatively, start with maple ice cream and add coffee-flavored liqueur (even a homemade Kahlúa will work). For a spiked vanilla latte with hints of caramelized sugar, try mixing coffee ice cream with dark rum and vanilla vodka.

To take your boozy ice cream to the next level, add toppings like crushed Oreos, candy bars, sprinkles, and nuts to the softened ice cream. Just make sure to freeze it overnight to allow the ice cream to firm up. Or, if you're short on time, blend ice cream and hooch in a blender to whip up an indulgent boozy bourbon milkshake.