Delight invitees at your reception by offering a post-dinner snack that skews more sweet than salty: a milkshake. The creamy sipper is cool (should guests already be on the dance floor), universally loved, and, in the hands of these favorite ice cream makers, more versatile than expected; the creations that follow span the spectrum from exotic to classic.
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Tart at Heart
With the cultural obsession for low-calorie frozen yogurt, it can be tough to make the case for full-fat ice cream. Enter Seattle-based Mora Iced Creamery, whose stock has less butterfat than average pints without sacrificing flavor. Its white chocolate and lemon bar varieties make up this summery milkshake—and guests nostalgic for mom’s milk and cookies can dip and devour the shortbread garnish or crumble it on top to create an upside-down lemon icebox pie.
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“We created an adult milkshake to complement our ‘peanutty pretzel’ ice cream, a peanut butter blend with chocolate-covered pretzels,” explains Jess Eddy, cofounder of Brooklyn-based Phin & Phebes. Pouring a stout beer and a splash of whiskey over the scoops turned the sipper into an “after-dark delight,” while adding whipped cream and bourbon-bacon caramel corn from nearby Liddabit Sweets sugared up the salty sensation.
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Rethink end-of-the-night tea and coffee service with Morgan Morano’s café upgrade. The Morano Gelato founder, who launched storefronts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, combines milk chocolate, toasted hazelnuts, and hazelnut pieces to create gelato al bacio, or “kiss-flavored ice cream,” which has the taste and texture of Nutella. The blend is then incorporated with whole milk to create a frappe that’s rivaled only by the other one-of-a-kind offerings you’ll find in her newly released cookbook, The Art of Making Gelato.
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Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice
“I created our signature ‘sweet potato sassafras praline’ ice cream flavor around Thanksgiving, some years ago,” says Bryan Gilmore, head chef of The Creole Creamery in New Orleans. “I thought of candied yams and root beer-glazed sweet potatoes, which led me to use sassafras root (the ‘root’ in root beer).” The milkshake version, he says, reminds him of a carbonated float—a fitting comparison given the southern shop’s parlor aesthetic and menu of retro treats, including banana splits and chocolate malts. Besides a likely milk(shake) mustache, guests will also take with them the buttery, brown sugar aftertaste of pecan pralines, which dot the creamy surface and add some serious crunch.
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The folks at Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon, may be in the business of churning ice cream, but the secret ingredient in their “honey lavender and Oregon berries” milkshake, ironically, does not qualify as dairy. Rather, the area’s local berries, foraged by family-owned Northwest Wildfoods, are what give this dessert a wholesome taste that will send partygoers’ taste buds into a frenzy.
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Inspired by his father’s heritage and memories of baking with his aunt, Adirondack Creamery owner Paul Nasrani developed a kulfi-pistachio cardamom ice cream, which builds on kulfi, a frozen South Asian delicacy often enjoyed after spicy main courses. The New York-based shop owner adds a dollop of whipped cream and coarsely chopped nuts to each shake, making for a pleasant post-dinner treat, no matter how much heat you bring to the table—or guests take to the dance floor.
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Don’t let the galactic-titled dishes, such as “Super Nova” and “Starship Brownie,” on Big Dipper Ice Cream’s menu fool you into thinking that its delights are developed from otherworldly ingredients. Rather, the out-of-this-world creations are often sourced within Montana’s borders, like this huckleberry bourbon and vanilla bean milkshake, made from the abundant local fruit. Have servers pass milkshakes styled with picnic-ready panache, or reserve the shop’s ice cream truck, fondly called “Coneboy,” to deliver your late-night treat.
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L.A. Creamery, an artisanal ice cream shop in Los Angeles, typically keeps fewer than ten flavors in rotation, but with blends such as “cinnamon toast” (vanilla ice cream with chocolate-covered toast crunchies) and “Manhattan” (brown-butter toffee and Rittenhouse Rye ice cream with Bing cherries), decision-making is still no easy task. This honeycomb crunch boozer will likely shorten ordering angst, as it stirs the store’s popular honeycomb crunch (honey ice cream with chocolate-covered honeycomb) with Jack Daniels’s honey Tennessee whiskey, giving guests a two-for-one treat and saving them a trip to the bar.
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Calling all dessert naysayers, this savory marriage of olive oil and roasted peaches by Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream is sure to have you eating your words (and licking your lips). Two scoops of McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil (“the best olive oil on the planet,” says Humphry Slocombe co-owner Sean Vahey) ice cream and roasted Frog Hollow Farm peaches are submerged in milk for this block party in a glass (all three vendors do business in The Ferry Building in San Francisco).
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Reminiscent of the Grasshopper cocktail made popular in New Orleans in the ’50s, this milkshake rendition also calls for crème de menthe. Rather than adding crème de cacao to the green liqueur, the team at Steve’s Ice Cream in New York incorporates scoops of their dairy-free mint cacao chip ice cream, which is then blended to perfection instead of shaken and strained.
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Texas Sheet Cake—as beloved by Texans as cowboy hats and Tex-Mex—is a delicious reception dessert in its own right, gracing many a groom’s cake table. But for hot summer weddings, this cooled-down version created by Austin-based Lick Honest Ice Creams is far from a consolation prize. To rival the decadent chocolate slab smothered in gooey pecan-fudge icing, the purveyor calls on local specialties, Great Bean chocolate, Mill-King milk and cream, and toasted San Saba pecans, to create the ice cream in-house, then adds milk for one lip-smacking milkshake.
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Pleased As Punch
Nearing its centennial anniversary, Leopold’s Ice Cream in Savannah, Georgia, has much to celebrate, as will you on your wedding day. Have glasses of the shop’s signature “Tipsy Tutti Frutti” shake on offer for guests to clink glasses even as the night draws to an end. “The creamy rum ice cream loaded with candied fruits and Georgia pecans is like the best fruitcake you’ve ever had,” explains Carey Ferrara, Leopold’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “Add a shot of rum, and you have a party in a glass!”
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Send attendees home with a treat they can feel good about. The ingredients used in Arizona-based Sweet Republic’s creations are void of artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils—and are handcrafted inside an eco-friendly facility. This “Brown Cow” Shake combines Madagascar vanilla ice cream with salted-butter caramel and old-fashioned root beer (rather than milk, the usual suspect) for an extra frothy finish. When passing them around, remember this pro tip from co-owner Jan Wichayanuparp: “To ensure guests can savor the whole creamy blend, instead of just thin melted dredges, serve up this thick shake with extra-large straws.” Point taken!