I created this recipe on May 30th. It should have been a sunny Spring day that would inspire me to write an ice cream recipe. But it wasn’t. It was a blustery, rainy, 58-degree day. So to warm myself up, I created a recipe for Bourbon Ice Cream for the upcoming Bourbon Day. Now, I tried Ben & Jerry’s Browned Butter Bourbon ice cream last year and I was not impressed. You couldn’t taste the bourbon. What’s the point of that?

There are a host of recipes on the internet for Brown Butter Bourbon or Brown Sugar Bourbon ice creams. I have two problems with them. Firstly, all you taste is brown sugar or browned butter. This is due to my second problem with these recipes, they only have a tablespoon or two of bourbon.

The problem with alcohol in an ice cream is that alcohol doesn’t freeze. That may be why so many recipes only add only a few tablespoons. But fat doesn’t freeze either. So to increase my odds for frozen ice cream with increased alcohol, I decreased the fat content, with a mix of cream and milk. I also added egg yolks to create a thicker starting base. To enhance the flavor of bourbon, I started with a clean base of simple vanilla, rather than a brown sugar or browned butter base. I highly recommend using the whole vanilla bean for flavor, rather than just extract. It makes the flavor crisper and cleaner. You can taste both the vanilla and bourbon separately with the vanilla bean version.

I highly recommend this ice cream as an ala mode to other desserts, maybe in an adult ice cream sandwich. The flavor and alcohol content is too much for a big bowl of ice cream, but may be a great after-dinner cocktail. I’ll be trying this recipe this Summer with lime zest and tequila!


  • 1 cup ½&½
  • 1 whole milk
  • 1 cup light cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean 2-3”
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or 3 teaspoons if not using a vanilla bean-see instructions)
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons Bourbon
  • 1 packet of plain gelatin


Combine 1 cup milk and 1 cup light cream in a 2-quart sauce pan with sugar and salt. Split the vanilla bean and add the whole bean to the milk. (If using vanilla extract add at the end with the Bourbon. But I highly recommend using a bean.) Heat on medium high heat until it starts to form bubbles around the edges. Steep on a very low simmer until the vanilla flavor is strong. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.

Place ice on the bottom of a large metal bowl. Put a slightly smaller bowl (still at least 2 quarters) on top of the ice. Pour the cup of ½ & ½ into the smaller bowl metal bowl. Keep a strainer available.

Place egg yolks into separate bowl and beat until they are light yellow. Add ½ of the cooked and cooled cream and sugar mixture into the yolks, mixing continuously to avoid cooking the egg. Pour the egg mixture back into the heavy quart sauce pan with remaining cream and heat to 175 degrees, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. Don’t allow the mixture to go much over 175 degrees while you continue to stir. Cook until the mixture thickens into a warm custard. It should slightly stick wooden spoon.

Then remove from heat and immediately strain over the iced ½ & ½. Stir. Scrape the vanilla bean into the cream to remove as much flavor as possible. Add the teaspoon of vanilla extract (or three teaspoons, if not using the vanilla bean.)

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours.

Add your Bourbon to taste, up to ¼ cup. If you feel it needs more Bourbon, add the remaining 2 tablespoons.

Stir in one packet of gelatin immediately before pouring the mixture into your ice cream maker. Follow instructions for your ice cream maker. Once the ice cream has thickened as much as you think it will, place in the freezer for further freezing. The alcohol and gelatin prevent this ice cream from becoming so hard that it can’t be scooped.

Follow the following links for other bourbon whiskey dessert and drink recipes on Sweatpantsandcoffee:

Lane Cake

Blackberry Lemonade


Spiced Whiskey Punch

Leslie Gayle

Leslie is a one time CPA, wife and mom of twins. She’s an over thinker who loves karate, thunder, and travel. Her sweatpants are yoga pants and she takes her coffee with milk.

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