Can You Mix Beer With Ice Cream?

Ice Cream Float with Alcohol BottleBack in the 1950s, one of the favorite concoctions for teens and preteens was the root beer float. The recipe was simple: two scoops of vanilla ice cream and a bottle of root beer. But what about regular beer: Can you mix it with ice cream?

Before getting into specifics, the obvious answer to the question is “yes.” You can mix anything you want as long as it’s safe to eat and you’re willing to live with the taste. That being said, there are quite a number of well-known beer and ice cream concoctions floating around out there.

Have You Ever Heard of Beer Floats?

The obvious place to begin with this is something known as the beer float. Such a drink is no different from the root beer float. You put a couple of scoops of your favorite ice cream into a drinking glass, add the beer, and voila! The beer float is born.

According to a 2009 article by Joe Sixpack at, the idea doesn’t stop with such a simplified recipe. He claims there are well-known restaurants around the country offering beer and ice cream drinks. He cites the Young’s Double Chocolate Stout float and the Lindemans Framboise shake as two examples.

Joe Sixpack also offers a warning well worth heeding: Be careful what you mix. There are some flavors that simply do not go well together. For example, combining a Guinness and a creamy pistachio ice cream could be a conflict of taste so severe you could end up blowing leprechauns out your nose. A float consisting of Genny Light and vanilla ice cream would be equally revolting. Imagine such a terrible combination of bland and blander.

Are there any secrets to mixing beer and ice cream?

According to unidentified beer float snobs, there are a couple of important secrets to combining beer and ice cream together. The first comes down to malt. Malt is the substance in beer then gives it its flavor, be it sweet or bitter. So the first thing you need to do is decide what type of beer you want to use.

Identifying the flavor of a particular malt can be accomplished the same way a wine taster deciphers the subtle flavors of his favorite vintage. You can do it. Just pretend, for moment, that you’re a beer snob. If you’re already a natural beer snob you’ve got the hardest part out of the way.

To really taste the flavor of the malt you’ll need to start by cleansing your palate. Wine tasters like to use something known as sorbet. Just so you know, sorbet is a pretentious desert made with cold water and fruit juice. If you’re not into pretentious desserts you can cleanse your palate using green tea, celery sticks, or sparkling water.

Once your palate is free of any competing flavors, it’s time to taste your beer. Put a couple of tablespoons in your mouth, swish it around your tongue, and see what you can taste. Then imagine what might go good with the flavor. If nothing comes to mind you’ll just have to try the kamikaze approach to mixing.

The other secret to combining beer and ice cream is to do it via a traditional float rather than using an ice cream maker. Because beer is mostly water, and ice cream floats on top of it, the ingredients won’t mix well in your ice cream maker. If you want actual beer-flavored ice cream, the next couple of paragraphs will be right up your alley.

Is it Possible to Make Beer-flavored Ice Cream?

If you’re intrigued by the thought of beer and ice cream together, you might consider making your own ice cream with beer as the main flavor. If they can make ice cream that tastes like coffee or pumpkin pie, why not ice cream that tastes like beer? It’s actually not as hard as you think.

New York-centric blog AWL has a pretty easy recipe that you can use to make your own batch, with a few simple ingredients and an ice cream machine. It involves nothing more than eggs, heavy whipping cream, sugar, and your favorite brew. If you can make scrambled eggs, you can make beer ice cream.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker then you can forgo the last step. Rather than being a hard ice cream it will be more the consistency of a smoothie. On a hot, sunny day, a beer smoothie doesn’t sound half bad, does it? But anyway, you’ll need the ice cream maker if you want the consistency of a hard ice cream.

What Have We Learned About Beer?

After going through all of this we’ve reached only one conclusion: Beer can be made to go with just about anything. Beer is great with ice cream, nachos, pizza, hot dogs, steak, and so much more. And if you’re into specialty froufrou beers made by craft breweries, the combinations become virtually endless.

Just do yourself and the rest of us a favor. Try out your recipes on your own tongue before even thinking about giving them to your friends. This is been a public service announcement from those of us who have tried one too many handcrafted home brews that made us sick to our stomachs.