Boozy milkshakes are one of the world’s greatest grown-up desserts—especially when they’re made with one of the world’s greatest ice creams, Ben & Jerry’s. While a few B&J flavors are alcohol-inspired, like the new Urban Bourbon, we prefer the real deal. Here, our favorite spirits to pair with every classic Ben & Jerry’s flavor.
Cherry Garcia + Bourbon
While bourbon would do well in nearly any ice cream flavor, it threads the needle of fruit and chocolate particularly well in this duo, conjuring the midnight pleasures of a Black Manhattan
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough + Cognac
The now ubiquitous dough-studded flavor was born at a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop in Vermont. Give the elder ice cream its due respect by pairing it with an OG spirit like Cognac.
Chubby Hubby + Scotch
The malt in the vanilla base separates Chubby Hubby from its peanutty ilk. A cereal-heavy scotch elevates that sweet yeast, while the salt from the pretzels and peanuts brings out the whisky’s briney notes.
Chunky Monkey + Rum
Take your shake down to New Orleans by adding rum to the ultimate banana ice cream for a sippable bananas foster. It might not be on fire literally, but it is on fire in the sense that it is awesome.
Peanut Butter Cup + Applejack
Turn the classic snack of apples and peanut butter into a creamy, boozy treat by mixing apple brandy with this chocolaty, peanut buttery ice cream. Since the ice cream is on the chunkier end, skip the straw and eat this one with a spoon.
Everything but the… + Light Rum + Dark Rum + Demerara Rum
Like the comprehensive ice cream flavor—which features a laundry list of ingredients including peanut butter cups, white chocolate and fudge-covered toffee and almonds—a rum blend is perfect for the indecisive among us.
Half Baked + Sherry
With a clever name drawn from a mixture of unbaked cookie dough and fully baked brownies, Half Baked is all about compromise. A fortified wine like sherry is another of life’s better compromises, clocking in at a higher ABV than your standard vino but lighter than a spirit. A dessert-appropriate Pedro Ximenez sherry with notes of dried fruit or caramel fits in well between the two polar sides of the Ben & Jerry’s mashup. Add a dash of Madeira, which is baked in casks in the island sun, to play up the punny name even more.
Milk and Cookies + Bourbon + Dark Rum
Milk and cookies is the ultimate comfort snack. To find a spirit capable of adding any more pleasure to this pairing, look to another comforting milky staple, New Orleans Milk Punch
, which has soothed many a Mardi Gras reveler. Between the bourbon, rum and chocolate chip cookie mix-ins, this restorative shake will undoubtedly do you right.
New York Super Fudge Chunk + Falernum + Rum
Nuts are the unsung heros of B&J’s ode to the Big Apple. Take a tiki trip through NYC by adding nutty falernum and sweet rum to this fudgy flavor.
Phish Food + Guinness
Inspired by the heady high of a Phish concert, this duo mixes frothy, heady Guinness with the marshmallow and caramel swirls of the chocolate fish-studded ice cream for a pillowy, yet dark shake.
Red Velvet Cake + Red Wine
Red wine and red velvet cake
are a no-brainer combination. The cream cheese frosting and cake pieces mixed into the ice cream help give the wine a round, velvety lushness, while the vino gives the ice cream an edge.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie + Kahlua + Frangelico + Drambuie
Little distinguishes this second tier flavor of chocolate ice cream and fudge chunks, but a spiked shake is the perfect chance to give it enough mix-in flavors to compete with even the most complex of Ben & Jerry’s stars. Three flavored liqueurs
pummel any Fudge Brownie naysayers with a rainbow of sweets. With accents coming from coffee and hazelnut and honey, this shake is anything but boring.
S’mores + Baileys
We already know that Baileys and marshmallows make for the world’s greatest adult s’mores
, so it’s only natural that the same flavor combo would work in a chillier concoction. This sugary shake makes a cool alternative to the fire-roasted tradition.
Banana Split + Aperol
Aperol is a strong shake play worthy of any banana split aficionado. The Ben & Jerry’s flavor includes both strawberry and banana ice creams for a one-two fruity punch, which, along with the fudge swirl, provide enough sweetness to balance the bitter aperitif.
Cheesecake Brownie + Amaretto + Rye
For a complex shake, add nutty amaretto and spicy rye to this sweet-and-tangy ice cream. The spirits act like a crumbly crust to offset the cake’s sweetness.
Chocolate Therapy + Scotch
Nothing could possibly match the flavor overload that is Chocolate Therapy except the infamously powerful Scottish spirit. How else do you balance chocolate pudding ice cream swirled into even more chocolate ice cream
Coffee, Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz! + Fernet
You thought we were going to say vodka
and Kahlua, didn’t you? Or maybe Irish whiskey
. Those pairings might sate your standard coffee ice cream eater, but not the connoisseur who prefers the strong espresso flavor of this Ben & Jerry’s pint. Pair that potent flavor with some equally potent Fernet Branca for a bittersweet delight.
Cinnamon Buns + Fireball
, Ben & Jerry’s and Cinnabon (or cinnamon buns, for legal purposes) all inspire intense devotion from fans, so combining all three in a triple-threat cocktail is a surefire crowd pleaser.
Mint Chocolate Cookie + Vodka + Branca Menta
Branca Menta highlights the creamy middles of the sandwich cookies dotting this minty classic
, while vodka adds enough oomph to cut through the sweet twang.
Pistachio Pistachio + Absinthe + Green Chartreuse
Pistachio can seem like a difficult flavor to work with, but the pure, subtle flavor of the Ben & Jerry’s version, dotted with roasted pistachios, provides a nutty space for subtle spirits like absinthe to sing. The spirit blooms without overpowering the creamy base, while the Chartreuse adds some herbal depth to the equation. It’s a particular shake, but a surefire way to satisfy any pistachio enthusiast.
Strawberry Cheesecake + Gin
A boozy strawberry ice cream shake already exists; it’s called the Frozen Pink Panties
, though it’s made with vanilla ice cream and pink lemonade. Mixing your own spiked Ben & Jerry’s version at home is an excellent way to avoid ever saying those words
to a bartender.
Triple Caramel Chunk + Tequila
Salty caramel requires a spirit that has enough punch to break through the syrupy sweetness without stomping all over the gooey sugar’s flavor. Tequila floats like a butterfly but stings like a bee in this ridiculously caramely milkshake.
Vanilla Toffee Bar Crunch + Blackstrap
Everyone knows vanilla ice cream is just a vehicle to deliver mix-ins, like toffee crunch pieces. Highlight the toffee even more with blackstrap rum, a luscious mouthful of boozy molasses that accentuates the crunchy candy’s caramel flavor. WIth enough help, even vanilla can be fun.