Remember beer floats? They were a thing and even now after the buzz has subsided people still like them. But when they first came out, everyone thought how weird and, at the same time, genius they were. Well, you ever wonder why ice cream with hard liquor never caught on? The Mercantile on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood is giving it a chance and featuring it as part of its dessert menu. Gelato and booze (small $7, medium $9) is a scoop of housemade gelato with your choice of a shot of Jameson, Frangelico, Amaro Montenegro, Jack Daniels, Ketel One, Bailey’s or Kahlua.
Now honestly, when I first saw this on the menu, it didn’t sound all that appealing. Creamy, thick Bailey’s on ice cream? Bleh. That’s just too much cream. But, I mean, at least it resembles most ice cream toppings. Vodka, on the other hand, on ice cream seems like it wouldn’t have much to contribute except booziness. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In any case, I was curious and compelled to check this out.
With 20 gelato flavors to choose from you can mix and match, maybe creating the next big thing or your next big mistake. I asked the bartenders at The Mercantile if they had any suggestions for pairings and they admitted they hadn’t tried it out themselves. One said that the thought of pouring Jack over ice cream didn’t sound good to him at all but the other bartender said that the vodka with lemon sorbet would probably be like a frozen limoncello. Oooh! After looking over the menu, I started to imagine my own combinations.
- Jameson with ginger sorbet to emulate a Jameson and gingerale?
- Kahlua with Madagascar chocolate for something mocha?
- Bailey’s with espresso for a frozen Irish coffee?
- Go Southern with Jack and red velvet? Er, maybe not.
Finally I settled on the Amaro Montenegro with espresso gelato. I’ve always liked Fernet with espresso, why not Amaro Montenegro which is considered the gentlest of the amari? The thin liqueur dimpled the gelato before it just rolled off the scoop and pooled at the bottom of the bowl. Nope, definitely not a syrup. But the combination of the coffee flavor and the amaro was magical. The amaro actually succeeded in prolonging the bitterness of the coffee flavor. What a perfect and fun way to end a meal. Better than just your regular shot of espresso.
FYI, this gelato and booze dessert is also available on the new weekend brunch menu, which is delicious, if you want to keep the good times going after that bottomless mimosa or the Around the World Bloody Marys.