Often you’ll come across an ice cream that has alcoholic flavouring but very little alcohol, if any at all. The reason is that alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature than the ice cream custard mix, which means if you wanted to make truly alcoholic ice cream it had to be -114 degrees Celsius.
Then I saw an article on Gizmodo (you can read about it here) going into detail about how to circumvent one of the biggest problems in recent years – making ice cream alcoholic. Ok, I am overstating the wonder and awe of the achievement slightly, but it is pretty fantastic. You can even go and buy the inventor’s book – Ice Cream Happy Hour
The recipe seems straight forward enough:
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp agar
4/3 cups honey Liqueur (I used Honey Jack for this one)
As with most ice creams, make your custard by adding your milk, sugar, cream and egg yolks into a cold pot. Whisk, and heat up slowly. Maintain vigilance because if the temperature goes too high, your eggs will scramble, and if it’s too low, then you have raw eggs potentially teaming with Salmonella. Your custard mix is ready when you coat the back of a spoon in custard and can run your finger down the middle with the path remaining. Remove from heat and let it cool, and rest for at least 8 hours. You don’t have to let it rest but you have a much creamier and more luxurious ice cream with resting.
Now the biggest problem you will be facing with this is that alcohol only freezes at -114 Degrees C. so most attempts to add alcohol to frozen products fail.
Cue the Dramatic music please!
To circumvent this natural disaster, we are going to make an alcoholic gel. You can do this by adding a little of the Honey Jack into a sauce pan with the agar. Heat slowly and stir every now and then until the agar dissolves. It will take a while because agar melts at quite a high temperature. Once the agar is dissolved into your liqueur, pour into a receptacle and let cool. It will firm up into a gel slab. Once firm, add the remaining liqueur and bled with a hand blender until you have a smooth consistency. (SIDE NOTE: the reason you gel only a small amount of the liqueur is so that you can still keep most of the alcohol instead of letting it evaporate)
Add your liqueur gel to the cold custard, and mix through thoroughly. Pour into an ice cream maker and let it thicken. I found it still slightly pourable after 15 minutes in the churner, so I put in the freezer to firm up over night.
It may look like crystals in the ice cream but it’s actually the gel fragments, so instead of a granular consistency it’s actually quite smooth.