— -- Creamy milkshakes, moist cupcakes and smooth ice cream. What could possibly make these favorite indulgences even more tempting for some people?
That’s right, booze is the latest ingredient being added to the dessert mix, and it's not just for flavoring. One of the newest dessert ingredients is intended to add actual alcohol content.
Pairing alcohol with desserts is a no-brainer combination, said David Guas, chef and owner of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington, Virginia, and host of Travel Channel’s "American Grilled."
"Alcohol and dessert always kind of matched up," Guas said, citing alcohol’s commonly sweet heat with hints of fruit, which is often reminiscent of flavors found in many desserts. "Pairing things that have similar characteristics is what works very well, for example desserts with bourbon, caramel and sea salt."
The sweet pairings have proven successful at Burger Tap and Shake in Washington, D.C., where chef and owner Jeff Tunks said their adult milkshakes, nicknamed Shaketails, are a huge hit. The shakes come with fun names to accompany their quirky mix of ingredients, such as The Evil Empire, which is made with vanilla bean vodka, coffee liqueur and vanilla ice cream – essentially a white Russian with ice cream.
"People love ‘em, and on the other side of it we have a lot of fun with the names and coming up with new ideas and specials," Tunks said. "Some of our specials are so popular and bring in such good sales and good feedback that we keep them on as permanent menu items."
Tunks said customers are surprised and delighted when they discover the boozy milkshakes, and that many patrons will come into the restaurant, known for its burgers, and line up just to get a sweet nightcap.
"You’re gonna fall out of your chair when you try these milkshakes," customer James Long said. "It’s good; it’s different. I just never thought you could really put liquor in a milkshake, especially vodka."
Milkshakes aren't the only adult treat making themselves known in the dessert world. Boozy cakes and cupcakes are also gaining popularity.
Faith Alice Sleeper, owner of Crunkcakes in Washington, D.C., has developed a business entirely based on alcoholic cupcakes.
"Alcohol desserts are really a growing industry right now. I mean, why not? Who doesn’t love booze and sweets?" Sleeper said. "People really like it, even though sometimes they are taken aback at first since I do my best to get a shot in each cupcake.”
Crunkcakes makes alcoholic cupcakes for bars and events, and even baked a special batch for Katy Perry in June when she performed at the Verizon Center in D.C. and requested local food items for her dressing room.
Sleeper’s most popular cupcake is the Irish Car Bomb, made with Guinness chocolate cake infused with Jameson and topped with Bailey’s buttercream.
Businesses serving these decadent treats have to I.D. their patrons just like any other bar or restaurant would when serving alcoholic beverages, and they have to acquire the same type of liquor license as well.
Burger, Tap & Shake takes extra warning steps to make sure their customers know what they are getting into with their boozy shakes. The restaurant put a subhead above the Shaketails on the menu that says "Gotta Drink Em Here" indicating that the Shaketails, unlike the regular shakes, cannot be taken to-go due to the alcohol content.