Frozen Fever: Heat up the Summer with Ice Cream Cocktails

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During this month, which is National Ice Cream Month, RingSide Grill in Portland, Oregon, is dishing up a selection of ice cream cocktails.

“Sweet drinks and boozy drinks are both liked, and ice cream cocktails check both of those boxes,” says beverage manager Geoff Rich.

RingSide this summer is serving four different ice cream cocktails, promoting one per week on Thursdays. This is a reduction in variety from the 12 offered by RingSide last year, and from a high of 25 in the past. The bar and grill has also chosen to offer the cocktails only in July, rather than year-round.

“We reduced how many we offer because of execution and demand,” Rich explains. “The demand is not there in the cooler months of the year. We have large patio spaces and they’re a great place to feature them. It’s really just a matter of consolidating and executing and presenting in the best manner possible. It also drives demand for your business since they are only available for a short time.”

There’s also the storage issue, Rich explains. “The elements of these drinks all have to be cold. So we pre-batch all the ingredients so they aren’t runny, and all the booze is pre-portioned out and all the glassware’s frozen. So that also limits the number we want to do – it would be very challenging to keep even more things chilled.”

The four cocktails RingSide is serving are:

  • Edelweiss – Grand Marnier, apricot brandy
  • Strawberry Cherie – Strawberries, Stoli Berry, Grand Marnier
  • Grasshopper – White cacao, crème de menthe
  • Dreamsicle – Orange juice, Absolut Mandarin, triple sec

Each also contains vanilla ice cream, made to order from a soft serve machine. The liquid base is made in bulk in advance. “Our house vanilla custard is a fairly standard ice cream base recipe that is a little higher in fat content and has less air whipped in than most ice cream,” Rich says. The ingredients for the ice cream base are eggs, sugar, milk, cream, vanilla beans, trimoline and salt.

“From a flavor standpoint, we are really trying to target familiar flavors like orange, chocolate, raspberry-strawberry, and mint,” says Rich.

“When we get an order in for a drink we add the liquid portion to a cold metal mixing tin and add approximately 8 ounces of frozen custard from our soft serve ice cream machine,” he says. “We blend it with a milkshake-style drink mixer – a blender on the lowest setting could be used but is not ideal as these tend to heat and melt the ingredients too much – and pour into a cold milkshake glass. The drinks are all garnished with whipped cream and a different garnish depending on the drink.”

The bar/restaurant sells 30 to 40 of the drinks between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., both during happy hour and beyond.

Social media is really helping drive sales of the ice cream cocktails but RingSide also sends out emails to let their fans know which one is being promoted. The cocktails cost $4.25 apiece. “They’re a loss leader but they really focus on what we want to feature and help get people in our doors, and get them more familiar with the other things we do,” says Rich.


RingSide Grill Dreamsicle ice cream cocktail recipe - Ice cream drinks


Courtesy of RingSide Grill

  • 1 oz. Absolut Mandarin
  • 0.75 oz. Orange juice
  • 0.5 oz. Triple sec
  • 8 oz. Vanilla ice cream

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