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A New York Creamery is Making Wine Ice Cream


Mercer’s Creamery in Boonville, New York is making various types of wine-flavored ice creams

This is the best news we’ve heard all day.

We already know that there are plenty of wine sorbets out there, but did you know you can also get wine-flavored ice cream? The delicious creation comes from the dairy cows over at the family-owned Mercer’s creamery in Boonville, New York and each pint, featuring a different grape varietal and flavor, contains five percent alcohol by volume. Which means that if you gorge yourself on enough ice cream, you could definitely get a good buzz going (that is, if you don’t get an ice cream headache first).

Each flavor sounds more tempting than the last: Cherry Merlot, Chocolate Cabernet, Peach White Zinfandel, Port, Red Raspberry Chardonnay, Riesling, Spice, and Strawberry Sparkling. Boonville, New York is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but don’t panic: Mercer’s will ship your ice cream overnight to anywhere in the United States. And yes, since it is made with actual alcohol, you must be 21 years or older to purchase it.

Order a pint (or two, or three), by calling 1-866-MERCERS (637-2377). You can also find amazing wine ice cream at a store near you by checking Mercer’s list.


There&rsquos a Cheese Trail in New York&rsquos Finger Lakes, and It's Glorious

Spend three days tasting the region&rsquos best cheddars, jacks, and blues, and don&rsquot skip the wine and beer, either &hellip Why haven&rsquot you left yet?

The Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York may be best known for its vineyards and wineries—with roots that go as far back as the early 19th century—most producing some version of Reisling, and many with a stunning backdrop of one of its eleven namesake lakes. But while the wine trails are worth the trip, as are the more recent additions of craft breweries (the Finger Lakes Beer Trail has more than 100 microbreweries and brewpubs), the region’s cheese, which has been produced here for decades, is a star in its own right.

Officially called the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance, this collection of family-run dairy farms features iconic red barns, rolling fields where happy dairy cows snack on grass, and amazingly fresh cheddars, jacks, blues, chevres, and more. And with proper plotting, they can be tackled as a trail.

While you probably can’t hit all twelve in a few days, you can explore some, while getting a taste of this bucolic region, including its famed wine and beer, too.

Below, find suggestions for spending three dairy-filled days exploring the Finger Lakes.


How to Make Pot-Infused Ice Cream

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry's have made some pretty on-the-hippie-spectrum flavors — see flavors: Satisfy My Bowl, Hazed and Confused, Cherry Garcia, and Half Baked — so it's no surprise that they’d be down with a weed-infused ice cream. "Makes sense to me," Cohen said in a recent interview with HuffPost Live. " Combine your pleasures." With the sale of almost 5 million edibles in Colorado last year, according to Time, creating a food-based marijuana product seems like a no-brainer for Ben and Jerry’s. (Or for anyone interested in starting up a food-based marijuana product, really.)

Waiting for Ben & Jerry's to create a ganja ice cream is probably a long shot since Cohen and Greenfield no longer run the company — and even if they did whip up a recipe, it would only be legal in Colorado and Washington. So we spoke to Brian Smith, co-owner of Ample Hills Creamery , a Brooklyn-based ice-cream shop, for some ideas about making a weed-infused ice cream at home. Smith says they’ve concocted a lot of flavors that involved steeping ingredients like Cap'n Crunch, pretzels, or tea leaves, which is exactly what you would do to make a weed-infused ice cream.

Steeping is not the same as boiling — when you’re boiling, Smith explains, "you’re shortchanging some of the flavor." Instead, you want to steep your weed in milk. "You would do that for about 15 to 20 minutes to get a lot of the flavor off of whatever it is, including pot," Smith says. Then you strain the actual pieces out and add your infused milk to your ice cream base.

Another option, according to The Stoner's Cookbook , is to bake your weed first, but the steeping process will give you a smoother texture and a stronger potency. "You’re going to get a lot of that THC and the oils are going to come off of that. Somebody might not think it was so potent, but I would imagine it could knock you out," Smith says.

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1½ cups mini salted pretzels
  • ¾ cup organic cane sugar
  • ½ cup skim milk powder
  • 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • cannabis
  • 1 generous cup Ritz crackers
  • 1 generous cup salted mini pretzels
  • 1 generous cup salted potato chips
  • ½ cup skim milk powder
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 ounces M&M’s chopped
  1. Make the weed/pretzel ice cream: Prepare an ice bath in your sink or in a large heatproof bowl.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until it starts to steam, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pretzels along with your weed. Cover the pan and let the weed/pretzel mix steep for 20 minutes. Pour the mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing down on the bud/pretzel mix to extract as much milk as possible. Don’t worry if some of the “pulp” pushes through into the ice cream. That’s totally OK. Return the weed/pretzel-infused milk to the saucepan.
  3. Add the sugar and skim milk powder. Stir with a hand mixer or whisk until smooth. Make sure the skim milk powder is wholly dissolved into the mixture and that no lumps remain (any remaining sugar granules will dissolve over the heat). Stir in the cream.
  4. Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and burning, until the mixture reaches 110º, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly pour in ½ cup (120ml) of the hold milk mixture to temper the egg yolks. Continue to whisk slowly until the mixture is an even color and consistency, then whisk the egg-yolk mixture back into the remaining milk mixture.
  6. Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and continue cooking the mixture, stirring often, until it reaches 165º, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  7. Transfer the pan to the prepared ice bath and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the ice cream base through a wire-mesh strainer into a storage container and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours, or until completely cool.
  8. Make the munchies mix-in: Preheat the oven to 275º. Butter a 12×18-inch baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
  9. In a large bowl, using your hands, break up the crackers, pretzels and potato chips into pieces about a quarter of their original size. The goal here isn’t to pulverize them into dust (though a little dust is OK, as it will help bind everything together later on.) Add the skim milk powder and sugar and toss to combine. Pour the butter over the mixture and work it together with your hands, squeezing it into clumps and breaking it apart, almost like kneading dough.
  10. Spread the mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until the mixture just begins to toast and turn brown. Set aside to cool completely.
  11. Transfer the cooled base to an ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  12. Transfer the ice cream to a storage container, folding in the munchies mix-in and M&M’s as you do. Use as much of the mix-ins as you want you won’t necessarily need the whole batch. Serve immediately or harden in your freezer for 8 to 12 hours for a more scoop-able ice cream.

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New York Ice Cream Shops React To Governor Cuomo's Boozy Dessert Law

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Monday that would allow for the sale of ice cream and "other frozen desserts" made using liquor in the state.

Boozy ice creams will be limited to five percent alcohol by volume and would be labeled, similarly to already existing wine, beer and cider-infused treats. The bill has been positioned as both a boon for consumers&mdashwho get to lick, lick, lick whiskey ice cream or gin sorbets&mdashand an expanded field for liquor distillers, dairy farmers, craft producers, food retailers and restaurants.

"New Yorkers are already able to responsibly enjoy beer, wine, and cider infused ice creams. Thanks to this bill, vendors will now be able to offer their customers another delicious treat," state senator Rachel May said, in a press statement released by the governor's office. "This legislation will help New York's dairy industry and our liquor and craft beverage industries at the same time. I am very grateful to the Governor for signing this into law, and I look forward to sharing some maple bourbon ice cream with him at next year's State Fair!"

In the same statement, member of the state assembly Donna Lupardo raised the new possibilities for New York distilleries, which could work with state ice cream makers for new combos of New York spirits and New York desserts.

New York City ice cream makers are already considering their options, including some that have created liquor-based flavors in the past.

"At Van Leeuwen we make four new special flavors every month and sometimes incorporate alcohol. We have used whiskey and other liquors in the past, and have a special coming out later this year that will be using beer," Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Co-Founder Laura O'Neill told Newsweek, in response to emailed questions. "We only ever incorporate alcohol for the flavor, and by the time it becomes ice cream, it would only be trace amounts. We have a vegan bourbon apple crisp coming out this fall that will be available in our stores and also nationwide in pints."

But others have pointed out that allowing alcohol in ice cream isn't a fix for New York businesses struggling due to a lack of state aid for mitigating against the economic impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"Our mission since Day One has included supporting the source farmers and processors that make delicious food possible," Jennie Dundas, Co-Founder of Blue Marble Ice Cream in Brooklyn told Newsweek. "Of course, I am encouraged to see Albany get creative to help dairy farmers and small business. Here in the city, however, we are waiting for overdue legislation on commercial leases. If we and our b2b clients go out of business after years of rugged, hard work, because we can't afford our rent, no amount of booze in my ice cream will soothe my sorrow. It won't be good for the source farmers either."

A Monday New York Times article outlined the damage already done by the lack of rental assistance for businesses after the original federal aid package passed in March, and the dire possibilities of continued inaction from state government. More than 2,800 New York City business have permanently since March 1, and 520,000 jobs have disappeared. A third of the city's 240,000 small businesses are at risk of never reopening. On Monday, the New York Post reported that 83 percent of New York restaurants and bars were unable to pay their full July rents, while 37 percent were unable to pay at all.

Newsweek reached out to the governor's office by phone and email, but did not receive back immediate comment prior to publication.

Other ice cream makers contacted by Newsweek, including the New York area Ample Hills Creamery, Morgenstern's Finest and the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory either did not respond to calls and emails by time of publication or were not yet ready to share any reactions or potential plans for creating flavors based on the new legislation.


The Latest Ice Cream Essentials

Within hours of opening three years ago, Ample Hills Creamery, the artisanal ice cream shop in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, had lines out the door. The owners, Brian Smith and his wife, Jackie Cuscuna, are opening a bigger place in Gowanus for their batches of handmade ice cream: a store, a party space, a roof deck and a factory. Mr. Smith says they will offer 24 flavors, instead of 16. “We aren’t changing the way we make it, just increasing volume,” he said. They have also just come out with a new book, “Ample Hills Creamery: Secrets and Stories from Brooklyn’s Favorite Ice Cream Shop” ($24.95, Stewart, Tabori & Chang), illustrated by Lauren Kaelin: Ample Hills opens July 15, 305 Nevins Street (Union Street), Gowanus, Brooklyn 347-725-4061 amplehills.com.

To Consult: This Recipe Book Cuts Straight to Desserts

Making ice cream is not so daunting with this straightforward book, which has recipes that are easy to tackle. It’s the work of a food stylist and former pastry chef, and covers ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet and granité. Some are in unusual flavors like olive oil with Meyer lemon, mascarpone-hazelnut and lavender-vanilla bean. Most of the ice creams call for a custard base, the simple instructions for which are folded into each recipe: “The Ice Creamery Cookbook” by Shelly Kaldunski (Weldon Owen, $22.95).

To Indulge: Chipwich’s Offspring Have Arrived in the City

Chipwich was on to something when it used chocolate chip cookies to recreate the ice cream sandwich. Chefs are turning to other pastries for their twists on the classic. François Payard puts ice cream in macarons at his various patisseries. A. B. Biagi, the gelato shop in NoLIta, has teamed with Bien Cuit, the artisanal bakery in Brooklyn, to fill plain or orange-blossom brioches with the gelato of your choice they are then toasted in a press. Asellina at the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel makes its version at an ice cream cart with a small flaky croissant stuffed with gelato. They call it the Crolato: Asellina, 420 Park Avenue South (29th Street) François Payard, many locations A. B. Biagi, 235 Elizabeth Street (Prince Street) and Bien Cuit, 120 Smith Street (Dean Street), Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

To Visit: A Holiday Treat Straight Out of Brooklyn

Image

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, New York City

Putting the rainbow in rainbow sprinkles since 2011, the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop serves some of the city’s best ice cream and everyone’s invited to the party. Get the “Salty Pimp” featuring vanilla soft serve, dipped in salt, injected with dulce de leche, and covered in a crunchy chocolate shell, and see why it was chosen for an episode of the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” or shake it up with a pick off the extensive milkshake menu.

While in town:

Explore Harlem: Take a tour of this historic Uptown neighborhood. If you’re around July 28𠄺ugust 24, partake in Harlem Week festivities.

Brooklyn Bridge: Walk the Brooklyn Bridge for a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline and one of the city’s best selfie opportunities.


Best Ice Cream Shops in Brooklyn, NYC

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Van Leeuwen has come a long way from selling ice creams in its yellow truck to having multiple branches across NYC. With an aim to create the best feel-good ice cream in town, this shop started selling ice cream in 2008.

Their classic ice cream combinations are cookie and cream, peanut butter brownie chip, caramel cookie, and many more. Their menu is full of vegan ice cream options as well as other treats like sundaes and milkshakes.

Odd Fellows Ice Cream Co

This small-batch ice cream shop that started from scratch is now one of the finest ice cream parlors in Brooklyn. At Odd Fellows, you get more than 500 different choices of some really creative and yummy flavor blends.

The not-so-odd fellow behind all those delicious flavors is the pastry chef Sam Mason, with multiple awards and international recognitions. Vanilla bean, black pepper fig, miso cherry, and cookies & cream are some of their noticeable flavors.

  • 44 Water St, Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • +1 718 683 5755
  • 1 pm – 8 pm, Sunday – Thursday. 1 pm – 9 pm, Friday and Saturday.

Blue Marble Ice Cream

With a mission to provide high-quality and healthy ice cream in Brooklyn, Jennie and Alexis started this amazing shop called Blue Marble ice cream. This ice cream parlor makes delicious scoops of ice cream and gelato using local organic ingredients from the farms.

Their mission is to make the world a better place and spread joy through their organic ice cream. Several restaurants and food marts all across NYC sell their special ice cream. Apart from ice cream, they have pints, shakes, and much more. Head over now to get yourself a special treat.

  • 186 Underhill Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • +1 718 399 6926
  • 8 am – 9 pm, Monday – Thursday. 9 am – 9 pm, Friday – Sunday.

Cream and Cocoa Creamery

If you are looking for some classic ice cream with a trendy twist at a reasonable price, Cream and Cocoa Creamery is your go-to place. Founded by a sweet couple, Omar and Astrid, this shop started selling ice cream in Brooklyn in 2017.

Since then, it has introduced some extremely delightful flavors with a fresh aroma. Here you can get all of the traditional flavors like vanilla and chocolate, but their specials are made with tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapples.

Davey’s Ice Cream

This frosty magical place in the East Village can easily be called the best ice cream shop in Brooklyn. Each of their small ice cream batches takes up to four days to get that creamy, rich and magical flavor.

You get the scoops that are made right there in front of you with their heavenly freshness and aroma. The East Villagers’ flavors enjoy the most from Davey’s ice cream are a chocolate chunk, cinnamon-maple, and roasted pistachio.

  • 74 Meserole Ave, Brooklyn, NY, USA
  • +1 718 609 6066
  • 1 pm – 8 pm, Monday – Thursday. 1 pm – 10 pm, Friday – Sunday.

Homemade Vanilla is Blue Bell's most popular flavor

In 1969, Blue Bell's president Howard Kruse (related to the Kruse who came up with the company name) created what would become the brand's most popular offering: Homemade Vanilla. Kruse told the Houston Chronicle that Blue Bell was the first to use "homemade" when releasing a vanilla flavor, though that's just as hard to prove as the Cookies 'n Cream claim. Regardless, Homemade Vanilla was a splash.

Blue Bell's website says Homemade Vanilla is the company's "most popular ice cream and with good reason," citing a "special hand-cranked flavor." It's not, however, literally hand-cranked ice cream, as it would take a whole lot of hands doing a whole lot of cranking to make as much Homemade Vanilla as the company sells. In 2014, according to AL.com, Homemade Vanilla made up around 60 percent of sales followed by Dutch Chocolate and Cookies 'n Cream.

It's not the only vanilla flavor Blue Bell offers, either. There's also Natural Vanilla Bean, which has black flecks of vanilla bean in the finished product.


5 Offbeat Places for Ice Cream in New York City

Ice cream equals self care if you’re living your life correctly, and New York City is one of the best places to spoil yourself. I’m always grateful for the breadth and depth of choices I have when visiting from California — it may have contributed to the second home feeling I have when I’m out there. Here are some pretty cool places to go in those frequent life moments when only ice cream will make it better.

All photos by author except OddFellows

There are multiple locations of Ample Hills Creamery (and some are seasonal), but I love the Gowanus location in Brooklyn on Nevins Street, which boasts a scenic outdoor eating area upstairs. Here you can choose to go either straitlaced or wild with both your flavors and your cones there are waffle cones, pretzel cones and even cones that are studded with chocolate chips or miniature M&Ms. The parlor itself has a charming retro feel even though it’s only been open for a couple of years. It’s the type of place where ice cream can be the big event it is supposed to be. The name is pretty cheeky but it’s really a more-than-suitable place for all ages.

The proprietors of Big Gay Ice Cream have teased California with some guest cameos (often with my homies at San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe) and I hope that one day they will set up permanent shop on the West Coast. It’s been great to see them thrive in NYC there are two locations in the East and West Village, a Shake Society in the Meatpacking District and now a young Philadelphia outpost. I’m an old school Golden Girls fan so my go-to there is usually a Bea Arthur, a soft serve cone with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and vanilla wafers. Soft serve melts quickly, therefore making the calories magically disappear. Proud o' you, Big Gay Ice Cream. Thank you for being a friend.

Mikey Likes It Ice Cream

Billed as the “world’s first pop culture inspired premium ice cream brand,” Mikey Likes It is a tiny but mighty East Village shop where flavors and frozen treats are named after icons like Pink Floyd, Foxy Brown and Milli Vanilli. More importantly, there’s no skimping on the full fat flavor, though you can go “Nice & Smooth” with one of their coconut water, soy milk or almond milk shakes and lighten it up. This place flies under the radar but is worth checking out. I gotta meet Mikey some day.

Okay, Morgenstern’s on the Lower East Side is more than a little precious to me. There’s a whole apothecary-type feel to the parlor that made me give it a side hard-eye when I first walked in the door. But I really can’t hate on the topping game here: Rather than soggy inclusions, your flavors often include toppings that are added to order. There was one time that I ordered Fernet ice cream (because I’m from San Francisco) and that wasn’t a good idea at all, but this is a place to have fun and try something new. Don’t let the hipster vibe put you off.

Photo by Oddfellows/Facebook

Located in both Williamsburg and the East Village, a typical flavor lineup at OddFellows might include a seasonal sorbet like butternut squash, a meaty ice cream like Canadian bacon and maple, and an international homage like an Indian saffron and cardamom kulfi. The place has a lighthearted feel but the flavors are definitely serious. It’s a go-to for me when I want to pick up something unusual to bring to someone’s house for dinner.


Dense and Chewy Ice Cream Element #2: Protein

Ice cream high in protein, even if it's packed full of air, feels dense and chewy in your mouth. That's why ice cream manufacturers often add non-fat milk powder (i.e. powdered protein) to their recipes. Protein also makes for a less icy ice cream extra molecular "stuff" floating in your dairy mix physically obstructs the growth of large, crunchy ice crystals.

I toyed around with a few protein options before settling on two: evaporated milk and egg yolks. The milk powder you can buy in supermarkets made for a great chewy texture, but it also brought lots of distracting "cooked" flavors and a slight chalkiness to the base. Canned evaporated milk—whole milk with only half the water—has a far higher protein-to-water ratio than fresh milk, and once diluted with cream, tastes pretty close to fresh.

There's another big source of protein in ice cream: egg yolks, the more, the better for the creamiest, chewiest, most stable texture. This recipe calls for eight egg yolks per quart. They bring a definite custardy taste to the ice cream, but after testing out smaller amounts, I found eight brings the best balance of flavor and chew.


Where to Go for the Best Ice Cream in the Hudson Valley

Oh ice cream, how we adore thee. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited for the return of ice cream season in the Hudson Valley. It’s a time when roadside dairy bar parking lots beckon us to stop for a scoop and quaint creameries become the coolest places in town. From Albany to Westchester, our Hudson River region is blessed with an abundance of local ice cream shops to satisfy sweet cravings on scorching (or even mildly warm) days.

This spring and summer, make it a point to plan a pitstop to each and every one of the region’s decadent dairy shops. Not only will you explore new corners of the Hudson Valley, but you’ll get your just desserts, too.

Alleyway Ice Cream

Tucked quietly down an alley in Saugerties, Alleyway is a veritable hidden gem in the village. Each trip is an adventure, since flavors change weekly. As for the scoops, get flavors like ultra-rich Belgian chocolate and creamy buttermilk strawberry by the pint. For those with an adventurous streak, the neon-bright ube Heath Bar ice cream is a show-stopping treat and one of Alleyway’s most popular offerings.

Bellvale Farms Creamery

Located at the top of Mount Peter in Warwick, Bellvale is a welcome reprieve for hikers in need of sweet, creamy fuel. It’s open daily beginning at noon and features signature homemade ice cream in fun flavors like Bellvale Bog (dark chocolate ice cream with brownie dough and fudge swirl) and Blueberry Cheesecake. You can get your scoops in a traditional cone or sundae bowl, but Bellvale’s homemade waffle cones are the only way to go for locals in the know. Because Bellvale is a family creamery, favorite flavors can run out throughout the day. Call ahead to confirm if your top scoops are onsite before you make a visit. P.S. If not, the homemade ice cream pies are a delightful consolation prize, too.

Ben’s Fresh

A go-to sandwich and scoop shop in Port Jervis, Ben’s Fresh offers an extensive selection of ice cream, milkshakes, and zany desserts. The soft ice cream is made with local Jersey cream and real bourbon vanilla, while the hard ice cream uses New York State milk. There’s vegan ice cream, too, with flavors like the blueberry oats cream made from oat milk. Scoops are wonderful on their own or in an ice cream soda or sandwich, although they’re extra-special when swirled into a homemade milkshake that gets its creamy consistency from a splash of Ronnybrook Farm milk.

The Blue Pig

This ice cream shop is as homemade as it gets. The milk and cream comes from Hudson Valley Fresh, giving the ice cream, well, freshness. The Blue Pig’s got all your niche tastes covered. Try the grapefruit Campari sorbet or the fresh ginger ice cream with candied lemon. Vegan chai teas and fresh-baked cookies made with artisan flours can be found in colder weather and, if you’re looking for specialties, ice cream cakes, root beer floats, and orange soda floats are where it’s at.

While the shop is not fully open, it does offer pint sales on certain dates. Follow The Blue Pig on Facebook for updates on upcoming sales and flavor previews.

Boice Bros. Dairy

Celebrating more than 100 years in business, Boice Bros. is a low-key legend in the Hudson Valley dairy scene. When it comes to ice cream, the local business is bar none. Swing by its Milk House headquarters in Kingston to dive into loaded brownie sundaes, custom ice cream cakes, and, when it’s in season, maple Dole Whip.


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