Smoked Bourbon Ice Cream

I’ve got a great idea! Smoked ice cream! I know what you’re thinking, “puddles of sooty cream in the bottom of my smoker…great idea…”, but hear me out. It’s amazingly delicious!

When making ice cream, I prefer to use the custard method, it’s smoother and creamier and best of all, it can even be made without an ice cream maker. The custard method lends better to freezing without the constant churning of an ice cream maker. The basic idea is to warm a mixture of egg yolks, sugar and heavy cream to a temperature of 170°F and then slowly cool the mixture, stirring when possible, until frozen.

Now the trouble is: how to get the smoke into this frozen treat? Can’t very well smoke a tub of Ben & Jerry’s now can you? So instead we have to smoke part of the custard base. Since we want a hint of smokiness in the ice cream we’re not going to smoke the whole shebang. Instead let’s just smoke some of the cream.

It is important that the cream stay cold while being smoked, so clearly cold-smoking is the route to go and on top of that we need to keep the cream in an ice bath. Just as you shouldn’t leave a litre of cream out on the counter, you shouldn’t leave it in your smoker at ambient temperature.

Once you’ve got your cream smoked and cooled then channel your inner alchemist and make the right blend of fresh cream and smoked cream to your taste. In my experimentations, I’ve used anywhere from 15% to 40% smoked cream. The amount of smoked cream that I choose to use depends on the flavour I’m making. If I’m making something more on the delicate side than I use less smoked cream than if I were to make something with a stronger flavour like coffee or chocolate.

When adding flavours the possibilities are endless, just keep in mind that you don’t want to add too much liquid to the custard or else it will freeze into ice crystals. Some of my favourite flavours to add to smoked ice cream are:
– caramel
– dark chocolate
– spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & ginger (think a smoky gingerbread cookie)
– espresso
– maple
– whiskey or bourbon (remember that alcohol doesn’t freeze like water, so you can be a little more generous)

Here’s one of my biggest hits so far:

Smoked Bourbon Ice Cream


  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 8 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Cold smoke ¾ cup of heavy cream with Hickory Bisquettes for 1.5 hours. Smoke the cream, preferably using a Cold Smoke Adaptor, in a disposable aluminum baking pan placed inside of a larger baking pan filled with ice to keep the cream at a cool safe temperature
  2. Remove cream from smoker and allow to cool in a sealed container in the fridge
  3. Combine smoked cream with fresh cream to taste until you have 2 cups of cream (I ended up using ¾ cup smoked cream and 1 ¼ cups fresh cream for this recipe)
  4. Whisk yolks and sugar together in a saucepan then add cream and milk and combine

  1. Heat on low-medium until the custard reaches 170°F, stirring frequently
  2. Remove from heat, stir in bourbon, vanilla & salt
  3. Strain custard and refrigerate covered until temperature is lower than 45°F, preferably overnight
  4. Add custard to your ice cream maker (follow your ice cream maker’s instructions!)
  5. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can simply place the cold custard into a container in the freezer and stir vigorously every 30-60 minutes to get a similar consistency


Compliments of Bradley Smoker North America