• March 29, 2012

    Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream


    I adore vanilla ice cream, I’m almost brave enough to admit that it is my favourite. What’s that? I think I can hear you snoring… I can also hear the Simpsons episode when Flanders says “It’s a popsicle in my favorite flavor–plain!”.

    So I love vanilla ice cream and I quote the Simpsons. I realize I just double-dorked my image.

    But let me clarify that my love does not apply to the freezer-burnt rendition that comes in a tub and is filled with “Modified Milk Ingredients, Sugar, Glucose, Mono and Diglycerides, Locust Bean Gum, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Natural and Artificial Flavour”. Yes, I copied that off a popular ice cream brand’s ingredient list. Mmmmm locust bean gum. Love when my food reminds me of nasty swarming horned insects.

    No, I covet the real stuff – made with fresh whipping cream, egg yolks, sugar and plump vanilla beans. If you’ve never had home made ice cream, your world will be changed. The store bought stuff might be ruined for you. I’m sorry for that.

    Did you … sniff… know that spring… sniff sniff… has finally arrived …. ACHOOOOOOOOOOO!!! With it the shrubs and trees and all manners of plant life are springing forth with beautiful blossoms (teeming with horrible pollen).

    I swiped these flowers from a shrub along the seawall. I only took a few. And since they are now immortalized on the internet, I think it’s justified, right?

    Bourbon and vanilla are amazing together. I served this ice cream with a sour cherry almond torte. I can imagine it would make a peach pie swoon.

    As if you need a reason other than deliciousness to add bourbon to your ice cream – it also serves the very practical purpose of improving the texture. Booze doesn’t freeze, so it keeps the ice cream softer. Homemade ice cream freezes firmer than storebought (for lack of additive emulsifiers and stabilizers..), and the addition of alcohol to ice cream can in part make up for that. Even so be sure to remove ice cream that’s been frozen hard from the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving for optimal creamy texture and scoopability.

    Do you have any idea how hard it is to photograph ice cream? I let it sit out to soften for a bit while I arranged my props. It softened all right. It was swiftly rediscovering it’s origins as a custard. The whole affair was a messy whirlwind of snapping quick shots and simultaneously licking off the ice cream that was running down my arms. Not that unpleasant, really. The entire photo shoot went down in a record 5 minutes, and then I had to eat my project. It’s a hard life.

    Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream

    • Ice, for ice bath
    • 2 cups whipping cream
    • 2 cups milk (2% or whole, but not skim)
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped out
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup bourbon

    1. Prepare ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water, then setting a smaller bowl inside.

    2. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla, sugar, salt, vanilla seeds and the pod in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

    2. In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk egg yolks until pale and thick. Slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup of the cream mixture. In a gentle steady stream, whisk yolk mixture into remaining cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture reaches custard consistency (you’ll know when it coats the back of the spoon, and you can leave a trail with your finger).

    3. Pour the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve into the smaller bowl set in the ice bath. Discard the vanilla pod, and stir in vanilla extract and bourbon. Continue to stir until custard cools to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled – at least 2 hours, or overnight.

    4. Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker until it is thick, and about the texture of soft serve ice cream. Transfer to a conatiner and freeze until firm enough to scoop, about 2 hours. Remove ice cream from the freezer 10 minutes prior to serving to soften slightly for a perfect creamy texture.


    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here. On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

    Review this recipe

    Notify of


    Thanks for signing up! Check your inbox to confirm.
    Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches August 18, 2019
    Ice Cream Sandwiches with Homemade Chocolate Wafers

    The best ice cream sandwich out there – a soft and chewy, brownie-like cookie base with vanilla ice cream in the perfect filling-to-cookie ratio.

    Lemon Bars July 23, 2019
    Frozen Lemon Mousse Bars

    FacebookPinterestTwitterEr my gerrrrd, these Lemon Mousse Bars. They’re like a lemon meringue pie had a baby with a cloud. I’m talking meringue base topped with creamy lemon curd, a super-easy (shortcut!) lemon mousse, and a pillow of whipped cream. The fillings are soft, so you assemble the dessert in a parchment-lined 9×13″ pan and then […]

    October 1, 2017
    SunGold Kiwi Frozen Yogurt

    3-ingredient homemade kiwi frozen yogurt – easy, healthy, and can be made with or without an ice cream maker.