When we reached out to Tyler Palagi of Radiator Whiskey, we asked him what he would love to create for our Chef Series line of ice cream. In about 10 seconds flat, he responded with a jaw-dropping idea.  How about a smokey old-fashioned ice cream with Luxardo cherries.? So of course, we just had to find out first-hand what this cocktail- inspired ice cream would taste like,  and figure out how to recreate it.  Our head ice cream maker marched right up the street, bellied up to the bar, and had Sara Rosales (the head bartender at Radiator Whiskey) craft this cocktail for her!

Oh my goodness! The smokey aromatic of the whiskey hit the nose first, exploding with flavor! Then the fire/smooth sensation for the whiskey itself hit, and then finished smoothly with the sweetness of the Luxardo cherry.  There was a hint of maple and orange in there too. So interesting.

It seemed pretty simple to recreate this delightful sensation in a frozen treat, or so we thought.  We tried a couple of different whiskies, and landed on one of our favorites: Woodenville Whiskey.  Because whiskey is pretty sweet already,  we really had to dial in the maple so we wouldn’t over-do it.

First, we reduce the whiskey down to almost a syrup to really get a concentrated version of the liquor.  We then add that to our ice cream base, add some 100% real maple syrup, orange zest and some smoked alderwood sea salt to help boost the smokey flavor.  That seemed to be a good base, and the bellies at Cupcake Royale were indeed happy!

Creating a well-balanced cocktail-inspired ice cream took us a couple of tries, and we wanted every ingredient to shine and have its moment of joy on the palate. This ice cream is finished off with chunks of Luxardo cherries, which are the Louie Vuitton of cherries!

What the heck are Luxardo cherries, and why are they in my Smoked Old-Fashioned Ice Cream? Luxardo cherries are Maraschino cherries that go back to their Italian roots. Produced in Luxardo, Italy, these cherries are nothing like the bright red orbs you find in cocktails from workaday bars. Dense and chewy with a sweet-tart flavor, these maraschino cherries are made with prized sour marasca cherries, preserved in the fruit’s famed liqueur. After we all had a handful of them we were dedicated fans!

Tyler and Sara’s Smoked Maple Old-Fashioned is available in all of our scoop shops: Ballard, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, and 108 Pine, all the way through June 30th.  Who needs a traditional happy hour when you can have happy hour in a cone?