If I was on Desert Island Discs and had to pick my luxury item, I’d want two: ice cream and alcohol. How would I choose? Well, now I can indulge both my passions and stick to DID’s rules because ice cream makers have finally worked out how to make properly boozy concoctions that actually set.
Now that the secret’s out, there are some truly splendid combinations out there. Here are the ones I’ll be taking to that island.
Gin & Tonic sorbet at Ruby Violet
Former photographer and documentary maker Julie Fisher opened her perfect little “ice cream dreams” shop in Tufnell Park nearly three years ago, driven by a desire to reconnect with people and to give them something that “reminded them of happy times, and made them smile”.
She’s constantly developing new flavours and is working on something rather special for Christmas, involving mulled wine, cinnamon and gingerbread. Until then, you’ll have to make do with the wonderful Ruby’s rummm & raisin, made with fat raisins that have been soaked in rum for two months; a delicate raspberry, rosewater and Prosecco sorbet; and the sold-out-in-seconds gin and tonic sorbet (pictured above).
Blue stilton and white port ice cream: what on earth…? But the blue stilt’on and white port range (there are three varieties, with apricot, pineapple or lemon) is one of Melt’on’s best-sellers. Particularly popular at Christmas, obviously, but also a hit at dinner parties.
The other dozen or so flavours include Vodka’On Morello Cherry or Brandy & Maple’On Pecan. The by-far-and-away top seller, though, is the Eat’on Mess, a luscious blend of summer berries steeped in strawberry vodka, churned into blackcurrant liquor-infused ice cream. Delish.
This Fulham pizzeria’s traditional gelato bar is serving three alcoholic, Italian specialities throughout the summer: Prosecco, Aperol spritz and a classic Negroni. All are made on the premises in tiny batches and are stored, as all proper gelato is, in covered wells called nel pozzo. Get there early if you want one of the cocktail flavours as they sell out very quickly.
Drunken Dairy no doubt celebrated its recent second birthday not with a bottle of fizz but with two or three scoops of its alcohol-drenched creations. Drunken Dairy is leading the way with boozy ice creams (as opposed to sorbets, which are easier to make).
Among the favourites are the 4.03% OMG (cookies and cream with vodka) and the 4.34% strawberry daiquiri, made with strawberries, white rum and triple sec.
Drunken Dairy sells through food festivals and local pubs and delis in and around Dulwich, but business is booming so check its website for new outlets.
A day at the seaside wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream, and Boho’s concoctions are among the best you can get in bright and breezy Brighton. They’ll even custom-make you a flavour if you’re holding an event in the town. Seb Cole, a man devoted to the art of gelato-making, has perfected the mojito sorbet. Make mine a double please.