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4 min read

Celebrating the Return of Ice Cream Cocktails

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Old School Drinks Revival and a Few New Twists

Thanks, in part, to AMC’s Mad Men — the TV show that has popularized 60s and early 70s fashions, food and 

cocktails — we get to revisit the glorious ice cream drink. You may remember your grandmother sipping these luscious cocktails with names like Pink Squirrel or Grasshopper. There is a reason they enjoyed these adult beverages so much, and we think it’s a perfect time to bring out the blender, shop for your favorite ice cream (vanilla is the perfect base) and enjoy the old school drink revival. And, because we are Minnesota nice, we have to give a special nod to our neighbors in Wisconsin for their role in popularizing the ice cream cocktails over the decades at their myriad of supper clubs.

Let’s start with the classics and move on to a few new adult-friendly ice cream cocktails. 

Pink Squirrels

This classic pink-hued, creamy dream drink is believed to have been invented over the border at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee. It’s said the original version called for ice cream, and later – in the 60s – bartenders started using heavy cream. We say both are delicious, and you decide which you love more. 

Pink Squirrel (with Vanilla Ice Cream)


  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 oz. crème de noya
  • 1 oz. white crème de cacao
  • Whipped cream, for garnish

Purée ice cream, ½ oz. crème de noya, and the crème de cacao in a blender; pour into a cocktail glass. Top with a dollop of whipped cream; drizzle remaining crème de noya over top. Serve immediately. 

Pink Squirrel (with Heavy Cream)

  • 1 oz creme de noyaux
  • 1 oz white creme de cacao
  • 1 oz heavy cream

Combine ingredients in mixing tin; shake; strain into martini glass; no garnish. 



  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 oz. green crème de menthe
  • 1 oz. white crème de cacao
  • Whipped cream, for garnish

Purée ice cream, ½ oz. crème de menthe, and the crème de cacao in a blender; pour into a cocktail glass. Top with a dollop of whipped cream; drizzle remaining crème de menthe over top. Serve immediately.

*For something even more fun, try using mint-chocolate ice cream instead of vanilla.

Guinness Float


  • Dash of chocolate bitters
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • 2 oz. Guinness stout

Pour Guinness into glass, add ice cream, top with chocolate bitters.



  • 1 oz. White Rum
  • 1 oz. Dark Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Kahlua
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 fresh strawberries

Place ingredients in blender, mix until even consistency. 

Brandy Alexander Shake


  • 1 1/2 cups softened vanilla ice cream
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) brandy, or to taste
  • 2 oz. (1/4 cup) crème de cacao, or to taste
  • Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg

In a blender, blend ice cream, brandy and crème de cacao until smooth but still thick. Pour mixture into 2 chilled stemmed glasses and garnish with nutmeg. 

Manhattan Ice Cream Float

Here’s a cocktail party recipe that bourbon and ice cream lovers alike with cheer.


  • 2 pints vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
  • 3 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • 1 liter cherry soda, or three 12-ounce bottles, chilled
  • Maraschino cherries, for garnish

Put the ice cream in a food processor. With the machine on and working quickly, add the bourbon and process just until combined. Spread the ice cream in a large, shallow plastic container and freeze until firm enough to scoop, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream with the vermouth, sugar and bitters until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until chilled. Pour the cherry soda into 4 tall glasses, filling them two-thirds full. Scoop the ice cream into each glass and top with a dollop of the whipped cream. Garnish with the cherries and serve.

If you aren’t familiar with some of these crème liqueurs, stop by your local Haskell’s store, and our staff will be happy to help.

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Founded in 1934, Haskell’s has championed fine wines for over 80 years. We have 13 wine stores in Minnesota, two delis and one restaurant. As one of the top wine shops in North America, Haskell’s is known for legendary service and one of the finest collections of wine, beer and spirits. Led by Chairman and CEO Jack Farrell, and the Farrell family, Haskell’s continues to be at the forefront of the wine scene throughout the world. Haskell’s also can ship wine, beer & spirits all throughout the world, the U.S. and we deliver locally. 


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