Drunken Cherry-Vanilla Ice Cream

Monday, July 7, 2008

One of the few things I really love about living in a tropical climate is the fact that I can inconspicuously eat ice cream almost the whole year long. That’s right. Nary an eyebrow is raised when I stroll my Haagen Dazs laden shopping cart through the checkout line at the grocery store in the middle of a balmy 75 degree February afternoon. Sure, it gets cold here sometimes, but not nearly enough to make much of a difference. It’s a good thing too, because if I had to go without my favorite treat for months at a time, I probably wouldn’t be a very pleasant person to be around. In fact, I think I’d be downright bitchy! I’ve always considered ice cream to be one of the major food groups. And, well…..a girl has to keep up her calcium intake, you know!
When it comes to ice cream, I’ve always been kind of a purist. My hands down favorite has always been good old vanilla. While I do like a lot of other flavors too, I’ve never been a fan of chocolate. I also don’t like anything crunchy in my ice cream. That means no nuts, no chips, no cookie bits. I know that some of you may find this sacrilegious, but that’s just the way it is. Swirls are allowed, though, as long as they’re fudgy, caramelly or better yet, fruity.

I’m really big on fruit-based ice creams, because fruit is another one of the major food groups and I can kill two birds with one stone. I’m very efficient that way. A few weeks ago, I shared the recipe for one of my favorite ice creams with you and today, I’m going to share another one – Drunken Cherry-Vanilla Ice Cream.


This ice cream is a perfect one to make this time of year when fresh, sweet, juicy, ruby-hued Bing cherries abound. The vanilla base is one that I’ve borrowed from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. It is a Philadelphia-style ice cream, which is one that contains no eggs yolks, instead, relying heavily on cream. This type of base is foolproof and is my preferred method for making fruit-based ice creams.

The drunken aspect of this recipe comes from soaking the cherries in alcohol, specifically a cherry brandy. The most well-known of these is kirschwasser, which literally means “cherry water” in German. It is a is a clear brandy distilled from cherry juice and pits that is often used in both savory and sweet cooking. Kirschwasser, or kirsch for short, is a popular ingredient in fondues and is a signature ingredient in Cherries Jubilee. I love Cherries Jubilee! We had it flambeed tableside at our wedding. If you don’t have kirsch, you can certainly substitute another kind of cherry brandy or liqueur. If you don’t want to use alcohol at all, you can just swap out the brandy for fruit juice or just plain water.



Now, before you run around telling everyone that I’m a lush who puts booze in ice cream, let me explain that I do this because alcohol is supposed to prevent the ice cream from freezing too hard, thus retaining its creamy scoopability. Of course, by cooking it, I probably have defeated the purpose, but it does taste great, so I stand by my decision.

With or without the brandy, this is a luscious, creamy ice cream, and a great way to use up cherries that are past their prime. Give it a try. Go on…..you know you want to.
Drunken Cherry-Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup fresh Bing cherries, pitted and halved
1/4 cup cherry brandy, such as kirschwasser
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine cherries, brandy and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes until sugar is dissolved and liquid is absorbed. Chill until ready to mix into ice cream.

Pour 1 cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the saucepan and add the pod to the pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and add the remaining cream, the half-and-half, and the vanilla extract.
Chill mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, for at least eight hours or overnight. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla pod, then freeze in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Turn ice cream into a freezer proof container. Mix in cherry mixture and freeze until firm.

Enjoy!
If you like fruity frozen desserts too, check out these other great recipes:

45 responses to Drunken Cherry-Vanilla Ice Cream

  1. On July 07, 2008 at 9:36am, Dianne said...

    Oh wow that looks fabulous! I’m going to have to try that!

  2. On July 07, 2008 at 9:39am, CookiePie said...

    OH WOW does that look cool and scrumptious! Cherries are my favorite, so making them boozy and adding them to ice cream sounds like a little bit of heaven in a bowl to me! I’ll have to break out the ice cream maker and try this. YUM!

  3. On July 07, 2008 at 10:15am, angelica said...

    That looks really delicious!

  4. On July 07, 2008 at 11:31am, Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

    OMG this looks so delicious. I’m freezing and now I want ice-cream?????

  5. On July 07, 2008 at 1:43pm, [eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

    I find I’m warming up to vanilla. And with cherries? For certain! I used to be fickle when it comes to flavours, but I’m settling down and coming to realize that vanilla is indeed just so darn good.

    Great-looking bowl of ice cream!

  6. On July 07, 2008 at 2:02pm, joanne at frutto della passione said...

    That looks heavenly! Great job, as always!

  7. On July 07, 2008 at 2:12pm, Jenn said...

    WOW. This ice cream looks amazing. I am so excited to make it.

  8. On July 07, 2008 at 2:30pm, eatme_delicious said...

    Oh I bet my boyfriend would love this! It looks so good.

  9. On July 07, 2008 at 2:55pm, StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

    Thanks, guys! I’m glad you all like this one. If any of you do try it, I hope you’ll let me know how it turns out.

    Vancouver- I’m really fickle about my ice cream. I refuse to waste the calories unless it is outstanding!

  10. On July 07, 2008 at 3:20pm, Mike of Mike's Table said...

    That is a beautiful looking ice cream! Makes me wish I didn’t finish off the last of my cherries just before…I finally freed up another container so the freezer has room again, lol!

    Also, thanks for the mention :-)

  11. On July 07, 2008 at 4:36pm, Brilynn said...

    Gorgeous! I love boozy fruit in ice cream!

  12. On July 07, 2008 at 4:45pm, Jeena said...

    This ice cream is just so gourmet! I love the way it looks, I love the colours and I soooooo love the ingredients!! I want some pleeeeease!!!! :-D

  13. On July 07, 2008 at 5:15pm, Jen of A2eatwrite said...

    You know, it must be the season for this, Susan, because I almost made a cherry/liqueur frozen yogurt today! But I didn’t have quite the right type of alcohol, and I ended up making a very rummy raisin instead.

    Your recipe looks absolutely delicious. Definitely worthy of buying some Kirschwasser!

  14. On July 07, 2008 at 7:42pm, FunkyFrum said...

    that looks divine

  15. On July 07, 2008 at 7:45pm, Just One Plate said...

    I am totally going to try this recipe this weekend. It looks incredible and perfect for summer.

    You might be interested in my site: http://www.JustOnePlate.com

    It has some great dessert recipes from the very best.

  16. On July 07, 2008 at 8:10pm, Kevin said...

    That cherry ice cream looks really good!

  17. On July 07, 2008 at 8:15pm, noble pig said...

    OMG this looks and sounds amazing. You’ve done it again…made me drool on my computer.

  18. On July 07, 2008 at 9:20pm, Bellini Valli said...

    Wish there was room in my freezer to make even a half pint of icecream..this sounds amazing:D

  19. On July 07, 2008 at 9:51pm, Proud Italian Cook said...

    This could be very addicting! I would be sneaking into my freezer in the wee hours of the night to grab a spoonful.

  20. On July 07, 2008 at 11:33pm, Marilyn (Simmer Till Done) said...

    Susan, that’s wonderful! I love kirschwasser and am always happy to find a use for it outside fondue. Delicious!

  21. On July 08, 2008 at 1:36am, Paula said...

    What a great way to get your calcium! Sounds delicious!

  22. On July 08, 2008 at 2:09am, White On Rice Couple said...

    Oh yes Susan, the booze has us hooked! I can taste the plum juicy cherries already! This is so wonderful and I’m feeling a bond between us already….booze in frozen desserts, our singing dog, your opera voice, our gardens….there’s something special here!

  23. On July 08, 2008 at 2:28am, Grace said...

    i’ve read that booze affects calcium absorption. so if you have a scoop of this ice cream, you should immediately follow it with a scoop of booze-free ice cream. :)

  24. On July 08, 2008 at 3:41am, aforkfulofspaghetti said...

    “let me explain that I do this because alcohol is supposed to prevent the ice cream from freezing too hard, thus retaining its creamy scoopability.”

    Keep convincing yourself… ;-)

    Me, I need no convincing. That’s a might fine-looking ice cream to me, and I’m not even going to try to justify adding the booze!

  25. On July 08, 2008 at 5:10am, Cakelaw said...

    “Drunken”, “cherries” and “icecream” in the one post title had me swooining. Icecream is indeed an essential food group – and this is a great way to enjoy it!

  26. On July 08, 2008 at 5:18am, diva said...

    this is fantastic! looks absolutely lickin-licious. and just the way i like it — drunken!

  27. On July 08, 2008 at 7:16am, Sharona May said...

    Love it! It sound wonderful.

    Sharona May

  28. On July 08, 2008 at 8:10am, Jen Yu said...

    Sweetie pie, I could use a big bowl of that right now! I’ve been so bad about commenting because some craaaazy stomach flu infection took me down for the past 2+ days. But this… this is what I am craving. I cannot tell you how much I love a drunken frozen fruit in a creamy matrix of ice cream. It is sheer brilliance. BRILLIANCE! And yours looks especially delish (because I know you made it with booze-hearted love). May I come and stay at your house? When I’m sick, Jeremy is a doll, but he can’t cook for squat ;) xxoo

  29. On July 08, 2008 at 9:05am, Becky said...

    haha, i’m with you on the “kill two birds with one stone” ice cream philosophy. who says haagen das is unhealthy? beautiful photo – recipe looks delicious.

  30. On July 08, 2008 at 11:36am, Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

    Looks fab…..did you know that Omaha, NE consumes the most ice cream per capita than any other state.

  31. On July 08, 2008 at 12:30pm, Cookie baker Lynn said...

    Oh my gosh, that ice cream is calling to me! And, yes, it’s all about the calcium (ahem), yeah, the calcium.

  32. On July 08, 2008 at 1:19pm, My Sweet & Saucy said...

    What a great recipe! Love the flavors!

  33. On July 08, 2008 at 2:48pm, Dawn said...

    I’m with you! A girl needs her calcium! Amen. And I just love the fact that you added a lot of cherries. So many ice creams barely have any in there. What a gorgeous creation you have.

  34. On July 08, 2008 at 4:37pm, Dayna said...

    I’ve been making drunken cherries for some time and either sneaking them straight up or drizzling them over vanilla ice cream. But this, this is the best!

  35. On July 08, 2008 at 5:12pm, Tartelette said...

    That looks outrageously good Susan! The ice cream maker has been going full force here too but I think I can always squeeze one more!

  36. On July 09, 2008 at 10:08am, nicisme said...

    Fabulous recipe, and I’d be going with the cherry brandy for sure!

  37. On July 09, 2008 at 11:38am, bleeding espresso said...

    Oh wow. Look at those cherries! Look at that ice cream! I’ll be right over ;)

  38. On July 09, 2008 at 9:13pm, Manggy said...

    Oh! Fruits are the major food group! I thought you meant ice cream! Because it is! Hahaha. Hmmm, veal chops and Haagen-Dazs? Splurge!! :) I’ve yet to try Philadelphia-style ice cream– it looks wonderfully creamy, Susan!

  39. On July 09, 2008 at 9:43pm, creampuff said...

    I want to be in that cup and drunk along with the cherries.

  40. On July 10, 2008 at 7:44am, Patricia Scarpin said...

    Well, if this is the way one is supposed to get their calcium, I’m in!!!!

  41. On July 11, 2008 at 3:14am, Peabody said...

    Yes, a fabulous way to get your calcium! Yum,yum!

  42. On July 27, 2008 at 5:58pm, Esi said...

    Looks great and I bet it tastes better. I left something for you at my blog: http://dishingupdelights.blogspot.com/

  43. On June 26, 2012 at 6:43pm, Unorganised Urangatang said...

    spot on stuff

  44. On February 23, 2013 at 2:36pm, Kathleen said...

    This ice cream is fantastic! It’s super tasty and easy to make. I’ve made it twice, but with cherry liqueur because I couldn’t find cherry brandy. I also used frozen dark sweet cherries (I let them thaw before halving them) and added chocolate chips. I only made half a batch the first time because I was worried a full batch wouldn’t fit in my 1.5 quart maker (it does, by the way), and three of us finished all of it in a half hour!

  45. On May 10, 2013 at 10:40am, Taren said...

    Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my readers would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to
    send me an email.

please post a comment...

kiss the cook!

Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

Just Browsing?
55 Knives
follow me!

    Follow Me on Pinterest



    Friday Food Lust



    Fine Cooking