Whiskey and Spiced Walnut Ice Cream

Looking for a unique frozen treat or specialty cocktail for Memorial Day weekend? How about rolling them into ONE and serving up Whiskey and Spiced Walnut Ice Cream. Seriously.

I’m not that much of a drinker. There are several reasons for this. Most importantly, alcohol usually doesn’t sit well with my stomach. Two, I’d much rather EAT my calories than drink them. Three, when I have a cocktail I inevitably say really stupid things… in front of people… in inappropriate situations. There, I said it. I’m better off staying away from booze and avoiding the embarrassment.

That is, unless I’m cooking. Whether it’s wine, beer or straight liquor, when I’m in the kitchen I often find myself reaching for the bottle. Liquor is crafted and aged with the sole purpose of creating intense depth of flavor. This flavor has to shine above the potential burn of the alcohol. Therefore it is the perfect ingredient to add “intense depth of flavor” to any dish.


My libation of choice is whiskey. With variations like Scotch, Bourbon and Irish Whiskey, the possibilities are endless. Each holds it’s own distinct flavor that can saturate and perfume dishes with intoxicating gusto. I tend to use Bourbon most often; it’s American made, it’s sweet and the aroma it hard to beat.

Ice Cream is the perfect place to let whiskey shine. The smooth creamy texture of ice cream accentuates the pure essence of Bourbon. Adding fresh vanilla bean, brown sugar and spiced walnuts gives this Whiskey and Spiced Walnut Ice Cream recipe dynamic boldness and a little crunch for good measure.

Homemade ice cream is a relatively simple task. You need a little time for chilling, but not a lot of skill. Just make sure to be on guard for curdling.

Curdling is the one thing that can ruin your liquored-up ice cream lick fest. Most ice cream recipes call for egg yolks. If the egg yolks are simmered too long–WHAM, curdle! Whisking your egg yolks with sugar before adding them to the cream mixture helps eliminate curdle. In this recipe, the whiskey can also curdle the cream. So it’s best to add the bourbon, right at the end, before the ice cream is poured into the ice cream maker.

Here’s how to do it:

Place the cream, milk, vanilla bean seeds, and salt in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk well. Mix the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Once the cream mixture is warm and ALMOST simmering, add the egg yolk mixture, a little at a time. Whisk vigorously (or use a immersion blender) to combine the egg yolks, so they don’t curdle. Stir another 1-2 minutes, until the mixture thickens a little. Then remove from heat. Place in the fridge for at least four hours. *You can speed up the chilling process by placing it in the freezer for 1 hour—just don’t forget about it!

Meanwhile, make the Spiced Walnuts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the walnuts in a bowl. In a smaller bowl combine the sugar, salt and spices. In a third bowl, whisk the egg white and whiskey together until frothy. Pour the egg mixture over the nuts. Toss until well coated. Then add the sugar mixture and toss. Pour the walnuts onto the baking sheet. Try not to pour any of the extra liquid on the sheet. Separate them as best as possible. Bake for 20-25 minutes—stirring once. Allow them to cool completely.

Once the ice cream mixture is chilled, pour the mixture into an electric ice cream maker. NOW add the whiskey and let it churn for 20-30 minutes to soft serve consistency. Add the spiced walnuts to the ice cream maker and churn in, or reserve them to serve on top! Serve immediately on place in an air-tight container and freeze.

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76 comments on “Whiskey and Spiced Walnut Ice Cream

  1. Jennifer (Savor)posted May 26, 2011 at 7:04 am Reply

    Now I want ice cream and I was not having a craving. evil. ;)

  2. Robyn | Add a Pinchposted May 26, 2011 at 7:16 am Reply

    Love these photos, Sommer! Gorgeous. And I certainly want a big ole bowl of this ice cream, too!

  3. Sanura @ MyLifeRunsOnFood.composted May 26, 2011 at 7:21 am Reply

    Definitely, a recipe to make this summer! I love any liquor infused dessert!

  4. Parsley Sageposted May 26, 2011 at 7:24 am Reply

    Awesome ice cream. Those spiced walnuts sends this recipe into ‘bookmarked’ land. Well done!

  5. Biren @ Roti n Riceposted May 26, 2011 at 8:00 am Reply

    Sounds like a wonderful treat for the upcoming holiday!

  6. [email protected]posted May 26, 2011 at 8:04 am Reply

    I have GOT to get an ice cream maker!

  7. Fresh and Foodieposted May 26, 2011 at 8:18 am Reply

    AGAIN…yet ANOTHER reason why I NEED an ice cream maker! I should just buy one already!

    Whiskey (or bourbon…or scotch) is my drink of choice, so I love the idea of this ice cream. The spiced walnuts don’t hurt, either. Looks delicious.

    I promise that when I buy that dang ice cream maker, I’ll be making this!

  8. Barbara | Creative Culinaryposted May 26, 2011 at 9:24 am Reply

    You had me at WHISKEY too and I’m chuckling to see Heather say the same thing…we do like our Bourbon and I love it as part of a food recipe. I never drink Bourbon but I do cook with it a fair amount…it’s meant to be paired with brown sugar in my book!

  9. Lauraposted May 26, 2011 at 8:33 am Reply

    This sounds amazing, Sommer! This will be our next homemade ice cream. ( :

  10. Loraposted May 26, 2011 at 8:41 am Reply

    Wow. Fantastic recipe! I want a shot of that ice cream :-)

  11. carolinaheartstringsposted May 26, 2011 at 10:45 am Reply

    This just looks and sounds so fantastic. Great pictures.

  12. Tricia @ Saving room for dessertposted May 26, 2011 at 8:48 am Reply

    I can almost taste it now. I love all aspects of this dessert. Wouldn’t that be good on a warm brownie? Why can’t all meals include dessert ?!?

  13. Belinda @zomppaposted May 26, 2011 at 9:04 am Reply

    Wow – what a lovely combination!!

  14. Heatherposted May 26, 2011 at 9:13 am Reply

    This sounds amazing…. it’s like you peered into my brain and figured out what kind of ice cream I would really, really want. :)

  15. Heather at FarmgirlGourmetposted May 26, 2011 at 9:16 am Reply

    You had me at WHISKEY! :) Seriously…looks amazing!!

  16. sweetlifeposted May 26, 2011 at 9:52 am Reply

    Love it. Last night I unboxed my ice cream maker for our summer treats! this is on the top of my list!!


  17. Mark&[email protected]posted May 26, 2011 at 10:43 am Reply

    Hi Sommer, you got my attention with whiskey ice cream! If liquor wasn’t taxed so high in Malaysia, I would be using it more in my own ice cream recipes. Will have to wait, but I’m sure this ice cream tastes wonderful with or without it.

    Quick question – do you toss the vanilla pod in too when heating the cream/milk, for extra flavor? Or just the seeds?


    • Sommerposted May 26, 2011 at 10:48 am Reply

      You definitely could do that. I just added the seeds, so you wouldn’t have t strain, but a vanilla bean pod is always a good idea. :)

  18. Dan Collierposted May 26, 2011 at 10:59 am Reply

    Hubs is missing out on this one!

  19. Evan Thomasposted May 26, 2011 at 11:26 am Reply

    Great recipe! I love homemade ice cream but haven’t tried an egg-base yet. I guess I’m afraid I’ll mess it up somehow.

  20. [email protected]posted May 26, 2011 at 11:32 am Reply

    I will stand on the corner all day for the ice cream truck -please make sure it has plenty on hand of this delicious flavor! I think Ben and Jerry can hear your footsteps, they know the competition is coming..

  21. Valerieposted May 26, 2011 at 11:34 am Reply

    I have to try those, i am sure they’re yummy, they look like they’re delicious!!

  22. [email protected]posted May 26, 2011 at 1:47 pm Reply

    Oooh, what a fun splurge for Memorial Day. I love the ide aof booze in ice cream. Yum!

  23. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidenceposted May 26, 2011 at 11:58 am Reply

    I love the combination of spiced nuts and ice cream. Recently made some spiced mixed nuts with sugared bacon. Was divine on a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

    Thanks for sharing.

  24. The Cilantropistposted May 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm Reply

    Sommer this sounds so incredible I am just drooling here at work! I love any sort of homemade ice cream – beats store-bought hands down – and adding whiskey makes it grown up. Those spiced nuts also are a treat! Yay for summer!

  25. The Cilantropistposted May 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Also forgot to mention – love your photos on this post! The whiskey is a beautiful color and your styling is perfect!

  26. [email protected]posted May 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm Reply

    Oh my my my…. incredible!! I love me some boozy in my sweets and treats! :)

  27. Lindaposted May 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm Reply

    I’m definitely going to open my new ice cream maker now! Whisky, spiced walnuts, omg! Sounds so amazing! Your tip on the curdling is very helpful for newbies like me afraid to take the ice cream making plunge!

  28. Maris (In Good Taste)posted May 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm Reply

    I think I would never eat pre packaged frozen ice cream again!

  29. Gourmet Gadget Galposted May 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm Reply

    Hey Sommer, If Jack Daniels ever has a recipe contest you should enter this one!

  30. RavieNomNomsposted May 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm Reply

    Oh man I would be ALL over that ice cream. I love love love whiskey!

  31. Feast on the Cheapposted May 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm Reply

    Oh my goodness, this just looks too good! BIG thumbs up ;)

  32. Ma What's For Dinnerposted May 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm Reply

    This could quite honestly be one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard of!!! I prefer to both eat and drink my calories so this fits the bill quite well! I need to get myself an ice cream maker!!! Immediately. This will be my kick in the but to go out and get one, NOW!

    I love your blog…I can’t wait to come back and poke around some more!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What’s For Dinner

  33. Delishhhposted May 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm Reply

    YUM YUM YUM! This remind me or rum and raisin ice cream from as a kid. What a fabulous idea. I am going to save this recipe. Your pictures are gorgeous too. Nice work!

  34. Katrinaposted May 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm Reply

    Great minds think alike, since you know I made ice cream, too. (thanks for the SU.)

    Love the idea of spiced nuts!

  35. elle marieposted May 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm Reply

    Homemade Ice Cream, who doesn’t love ice cream? Nuts and Whiskey… crap I don’t have whiskey in the house… now I have an excuse to stock up the bar, right?

  36. Lizposted May 26, 2011 at 5:45 pm Reply

    It finally feels like ice cream weather (at least when we’re not under tornado and thunderstorm warnings!)…so I’d better get out my ice cream maker and try some of your lovely adult ice cream :)

  37. Lisa @ Tarte du Jourposted May 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm Reply

    This looks fabulous! I’m digging out my ice cream machine this weekend!

  38. Eileenposted May 26, 2011 at 6:13 pm Reply

    Love your pictures Sommer. They are perfect! If you’re serving this for Memorial Day than count me in – lol… I really need to buy an ice cream maker this summer.

  39. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchenposted May 27, 2011 at 3:04 am Reply

    I’m with you, I’d rather eat my calories too, but alcohol in ice cream totally counts as eating so bring it on!

  40. Angie's Recipesposted May 27, 2011 at 5:12 am Reply

    Love the crunchiness in the creamy smooth ice cream! You are a genius!

  41. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yumposted May 27, 2011 at 6:08 am Reply

    How sweet, that last picture is adorable!!

  42. Emily @Cleanlinessposted May 27, 2011 at 7:12 am Reply

    You caught him! :)

    This is so clever and I bet it tasted SO GOOD!

  43. Carolynposted May 27, 2011 at 10:32 am Reply

    I am loving this! Loving it. I love walnuts in my ice cream, I love liquor in my ice cream…what is not to love here???

  44. briarroseposted May 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm Reply

    Pure yum…..my favorite way to consume alcohol is in yummy treats. ;)

  45. Ilkeposted May 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm Reply

    Looks so innocent :) Are kids supposed to eat this as well? :) I can not drink hard liquor like whiskey but I like it in the dessert as well. This reminds me the chocolate cake my mom used to make , with whiskey syrup! I need to get that recipe out!

    • Sommerposted May 27, 2011 at 5:52 pm Reply

      My kids ate it. That may make me a bad mommy, but I figure it’s only 3 Tb. of whiskey for 1.5 quarts of ice cream. They didn’t get much in their 1/2 cup serving. ;)

  46. pachecopattyposted May 27, 2011 at 5:52 pm Reply

    Yum, love the spiced walnuts and the whiskey in your ice cream;-) I’m going to have to break out the ice cream maker soon!

  47. 5 Star Foodieposted May 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm Reply

    An amazing frozen treat! I love the combination of flavors here with the walnuts, whiskey and the spices! Awesome!

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  49. Hester Casey - Alchemyposted May 28, 2011 at 1:47 am Reply

    I’m experimenting with my icecream maker at the moment and this is the next one to try. Love the idea of deep whiskey and bourbon flavours with walnut and cayenne – heat and cold and spicy and soothing all at once.

  50. Susanposted May 28, 2011 at 5:24 am Reply

    …and I thought vanilla ice cream with dulce de leche was the ultimate ‘adult dessert’! This one’s got it beat!

  51. Chum-Chumposted May 28, 2011 at 5:24 am Reply

    Congrats on top 9.. :)
    very nice photo you have.. :)
    I love it sooo much.. !!

  52. Becky, girl guided by cookbooksposted May 28, 2011 at 7:13 am Reply

    Hi. i just discovered your blog through FoodBuzz, and i really enjoy your writing and pictures. Especially the “Cooking 101” page! Will defenitly make my way back here to read more :)

  53. Amyposted May 28, 2011 at 7:58 am Reply

    Booze & Ice Cream…..an awesome combination! The eggs in the picture are beautiful too. ;)

  54. Chelsea Talks Smackposted May 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm Reply

    Wow, this sounds incredible.

  55. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }posted May 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm Reply

    OMG – this looks like just a supreme ice cream. I am not much of a whiskey drinker but I can imagine that it is perfect in this dessert along with those divine walnuts. Congrats on the Top 9 today!!

  56. Jean (Lemons and Anchovies)posted May 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm Reply

    Wow, everything about this is fabulous. I’ve been meaning to make room for my ice cream maker canister in the freezer and I think your ice cream has just convinced me to finally do it. :-)

  57. Priscilla - She's Cookin'posted May 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm Reply

    OMG, this is amazing, Sommer! Boozy ice cream with crunchy, spicy nuts!!! So glad that you’d rather eat your calories than drink them! Congrats on the Top 9 – just gorgeous, and love the last shot :)

  58. Annaposted May 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm Reply

    Congrats on top 9 Sommer, your ice cream looks divine. And with whiskey OMG! Yummmmmm!!!

  59. Cookin' Canuckposted May 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm Reply

    This is evil – that’s a really good thing when it comes to ice cream. Gorgeous photos, Sommer!

  60. kitaposted May 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm Reply

    doesn’t this look like a devilish little dessert? I love the idea of whiskey with ice cream. (I only really care for whiskey in things – but when its in things -mmmmm). And the walnuts. Oh yeah – I could use a few spoonfuls of this right now.

  61. Magic of Spiceposted June 1, 2011 at 8:17 am Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous idea for an ice cream…brilliant!

  62. Alessioposted June 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm Reply

    Lovely ice-cream flavors! I wish I had a proper freezer to make it :(

  63. Heather {Multiply Delicious}posted June 6, 2011 at 9:26 am Reply

    Wow! This looks and sounds amazing! And your photo’s are gorgeous! Now I want ice cream. :)

  64. Gwenposted June 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm Reply

    Oh my gosh! This sounds so awesome. I can’t wait to tell my mom about this, she was just saying this morning how Black Walnut ice cream was the only kind she likes and she can’t find it here in Az.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

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  67. Nancy Longposted March 14, 2013 at 11:41 am Reply

    Can’t wait to try this one – it’s sounds like it’s right up there with my Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream

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  70. Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratchposted August 4, 2014 at 10:46 am Reply

    I need to stop browsing blogs before breakfast because all I want is a few scoops of this ice cream! Delish!

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