Hosting Christmas dinner tomorrow night? Not sure what to serve for dessert? I’m here to rescue you, all you last-minute holiday procrastinators!
This dessert cocktail is the perfect ending to a holiday feast, and it’s easy to put together. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ ice cream float? I know I do. This one just has the volume turned up and highlights one of my favorite flavors in the world.
During the past couple years, I have become quite obsessed with anything elderflower. St. Germaine is one of my most used liqueurs. It adds the perfect sweet floral note to tons of cocktails. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered elderflower cordial. It’s very popular in Europe, simply mixed with sparkling water, for a unique sweet treat. Here in the States, however, it isn’t easy to find. Once I found out this magical elixir existed, I searched high and low for it at my local stores without avail. I finally was able to find it on Amazon.
As soon as I ordered my bottle of elderflower cordial, the wheels in my head were already turning. How could I use this awesome stuff? And then it dawned on me. ICE CREAM. Elderflower ice cream! I think I actually squealed with excitement when the light bulb went off. I decided to pair the delicate floral flavor with vanilla bean. In my head, it seemed like a match made in heaven. Vanilla bean is one of my favorite ice cream flavors. It’s just so creamy and delicious and clean. It’s like a blank canvas for whatever you want to add.
This vanilla bean ice cream just might be my favorite version yet. The elderflower is just SO awesome in it. It starts out tasting like typical vanilla ice cream: creamy, sweet, vanilla-y…and then it totally finishes with the delicate floral notes of elderflower. So, so, so good!
Once I had the ice cream made and taste tested (like 10 times at least…my spoon couldn’t get enough!), I thought it would be fun to make a grown up ice cream float using the stuff. To make myself feel fancy and festive, I chose champagne for the bubbly part and sweetened the whole thing up just a tad with a splash of ginger ale and St. Germain. I can’t get enough elderflower, after all. The resulting dessert cocktail was absolutely amazing. I made, sampled, and photographed these in the middle of the day…and had to give my baby a bottle of pumped milk for his next feed. Bad mom moment. My “sampling” involved taking an entire one down by myself. Not ideal for a nursing mother…especially on a Tuesday at 11 am. Hah. That’s how good these things are. I could not resist.
They are pretty, fun, and unique! Perfect for impressing your holiday dinner guests. Make the ice cream today and throw it in some champagne tomorrow night after dinner. I mean, it really doesn’t get better than that! I don’t know anyone who would turn their nose up at a grown up ice cream float, do you?
Cheers to you all! Happy Holidays!
Champagne Floats with Elderflower-Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
For the Ice Cream:
- 1 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste)
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of fine salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons elderflower liqueur (such as St. Germain)
- 3 tablespoons elderflower syrup/cordial (I bought mine on Amazon)
For the Floats:
- Elderflower liqueur
- Ginger ale, chilled
- Champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine, chilled
For the Ice Cream:
- Halve the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a saucepot. Add the cream, milk, sugar, and salt and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.
- Beat the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stream in the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pot and place over low heat.
- Cook the custard, stirring constantly, until thickened (it should coat the back of a spoon).
- Remove from heat and strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Whisk in the liqueur and syrup and cover the mixture with plastic wrap. Chill for a couple hours in the fridge and then process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Freeze in an airtight container until firm. Soften for a few minutes before scooping.
For the Floats:
- Put a few scoops of the ice cream into chilled glasses and pour a couple tablespoons of the elderflower liqueur over top, followed by ¼ cup of ginger ale per glass. Top it off with the champagne and serve!
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