Every once in a while, I pitch a column and immediately think better of it. For this issue of Flagpole, I thought, “Hey, how about desserts made with booze?” And while that sounds like a good idea, it does require eating a lot of desserts, and I have more of a salt tooth than a sweet one. Still, if you’re the kind of person who prefers to end a nice meal with a neat glass of single-malt scotch (I am!) or a slim goblet of fancy sherry, you may occasionally want to step outside your liquid diet and try some of these desserts.
Heirloom Cafe, in Boulevard, has a pretty extensive dessert menu, including some cute ice cream sandwiches, the flavors for which swap out occasionally. At this warm time of year, you can treat yourself to the Garden Party, which puts a sizable scoop of limoncello sorbet between two crisp lavender shortbread cookies. Is it refreshing? Yes. Is it adorable? For sure. Is it boozy? Not really. The lemon and lavender overpower the liqueur flavor, and although it’s a nice dessert, it will not give you anything approaching a buzz.
Condor Chocolates, in Five Points, does a bourbon truffle, made with the real stuff. It’s as sophisticated but still palate-friendly as most of the stuff the shop makes (in contrast to the cacao arms race pursued by many artisan chocolatiers, which results in stuff that’s damn near inedible). How boozy is it? It has a nice, strong bourbon flavor, but you’d probably have to pop a whole box to feel any effect. Still, it’s a good compromise between drink and dessert.
Downtown, Clocked does what it calls “shaketails,” which are milkshakes made with grown-up ingredients, listed on the back of the specials menu. At the moment, you can get a Church Lady (Irish whiskey, almond liqueur and chocolate ice cream), a Jittery Ivan (vodka and coffee) or a Blackberry Bramble (gin, crème de cassis, vanilla ice cream). The latter is quite pretty, with a sprig of thyme jauntily poking up out of the whipped cream, and it has a lovely flavor. How boozy is it? It’s not a particularly strong drink, especially for $9, but it is definitely a drink, and a fun one.
Stronger but less subtle and pretty are the alcohol-infused milkshakes at Grindhouse Killer Burgers, on Lumpkin just down from Five Points. Available upstairs in the bar or downstairs in the restaurant, they are $8.99 and come in five flavors: El Duderino (coffee shake, coffee liqueur, vanilla vodka), Stimulus Package (Oreo shake, chocolate syrup, peppermint schnapps), Monkey Wrench (chocolate peanut butter malt, banana liqueur, vanilla vodka), Cinnamon Toast Crunk (horchata vodka, cinnamon toast crunch shake) and Booty Shake (peach shake, peach whiskey). Are they boozy? Indeed they are. They’re the equivalent of a cocktail, although they suffer a little as milkshakes as a result, being on the thinner side.
One of the house specialties at DePalma’s (all locations) is its zuppa inglese, which means “English soup” in Italian. Much like tiramisu, it’s a trifle-esque dish that involves soaking a baked good (in this case, sponge cake) in a liquid, then layering it with creamy stuff. The liquid at DePalma’s is rum, not the traditional herbal liqueur, and although the dessert doesn’t initially feel particularly strong, gravity plus time mean that the closer you get to the bottom of the dish, the more you’ll feel the effects. How boozy is it? Surprisingly! Not enough to require ID to order it, but more than you’d think.
Among the various snoball flavors at Buvez (on Barber Street, in Boulevard)—cherry, lemon, chocolate made with Condor syrup, coffee with 1000 Faces, Nola Nectar, ginger-hibiscus—are a couple that are geared to grown-ups, although they’re not listed on the same board. Ask the bartenders, and they’ll tell you that, at the moment, you can either spike the ginger-hibiscus with caperitif (a South African chenin blanc-based aperitif with floral flavors) or the lemon with Yzaguirre blanc (a minerally vermouth). They’re cold enough to give you brain freeze unless you spoon out the contents slower than you’re inclined to, but once they melt a bit, you’re better off sipping them straight from the stemmed glass it comes in. Are they boozy? Very mildly. It’s along the lines of a kalimotxo (Coca-Cola and red wine in equal parts), in that it’s at least as refreshing as it is dehydrating. The snoballs are also discounted by a dollar at happy hour.
Want something that isn’t sweet at all and really is just a drink, not a dessert? You’ll want one of Seabear’s negroni slushies. Prefer real alcohol flavor but no chance of a buzz? The tequila ice cream at La Michoacana… es Natural (Hull and inside the Eastside Cali N Tito’s) is your speed.
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