Bourbon Ice Cream With Bourbon-Caramel Swirl

bourbon ice cream
Photo: Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist:Christine Keely Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
9 hrs

You definitely will not find this flavor at your neighborhood ice cream truck. Our Test Kitchen calls this boozy scoop "the ultimate ice cream for adults." Get ready for our Bourbon Ice Cream With Bourbon-Caramel Swirl to knock your socks off.

If you've never made your own ice cream before, let this recipe serve as your introduction. There are two types of ice cream you can make at home: There is no-churn ice cream, which often relies on a base of sweetened condensed milk and whipped cream and does not require an ice cream machine. Then there's classic, churned ice cream, which uses a crème anglaise base and requires an ice cream machine. This recipe falls into the latter category.

This recipe for bourbon ice cream starts with a booze-infused ice cream base. In the crème anglaise, we swap granulated sugar for brown sugar, lending a warm depth to the ice cream. Plus, brown sugar and bourbon are already best friends in our book. The only thing that could take this ice cream flavor over the top? A swirl of decadent bourbon caramel. If the caramel seizes up when you add the cream, don't panic: Just put the saucepan back over a low heat and whisk until the caramel smooths out again.

Rich and creamy, this ice cream would pair particularly well with a chocolatey dessert, but it also tastes great all on its own. Pro tip: This scoop would make a delicious boozy milkshake.


Bourbon Ice Cream Base

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • ½ cup light brown sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 6 large egg yolks

  • 3 tablespoons (1½ ounces) bourbon

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Bourbon Caramel Swirl

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, warmed

  • 1 tablespoon (½ ounce) bourbon

  • teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Prepare the Bourbon Ice Cream Base: Cook whipping cream, milk, brown sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is steaming, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl until pale, about 1 minute. Slowly pour or ladle 1 cup hot cream mixture into yolks, whisking constantly. Whisk warm yolk mixture back into remaining cream mixture in saucepan.

  2. Cook mixture over low, stirring constantly, until thickened and a thermometer registers 175°F, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in bourbon and vanilla bean paste. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, discarding solids. Cover surface of cream mixture with plastic wrap, pressing plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or up to overnight (12 hours).

  3. Prepare the Bourbon-Caramel Swirl: Cook granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan over medium, swirling occasionally (but do not stir), until sugar has dissolved and caramel reaches a golden amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and carefully whisk in warmed whipping cream. Whisk in bourbon and salt. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, pour chilled Bourbon Ice Cream Base into the bowl of an electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. When Bourbon Ice Cream Base reaches a soft-serve consistency, spoon about 1 cup ice cream into a 9-x 5-inch metal loaf pan. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons cooled Bourbon-Caramel Swirl over ice cream. Repeat ice cream and caramel layers 3 more times; reserve any leftover Bourbon-Caramel Swirl for serving or another use, and store in an airtight container or jar in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Smooth top, and cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper, pressing plastic wrap or parchment directly onto surface. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Related Articles