How To Make Japanese Whisky Ice-Cream

It’s summer, it’s hot, and drinking whisky straight can only be done in cool, air-conditioned rooms. At least this is the case in some countries and continents around the world. If you live in the UK, Sweden, Canada, or other year-round cool countries, then this article will simply get your sweet tooth going and build up your cravings for ice-cream.

But for the whisky lovers in hot countries – you can totally use this article to both cool down, and satisfy your love for whisky and ice-cream, all at once.

Whisky ice-cream for all!

As complicated as it may sound, making whisky ice-cream isn’t all that difficult, and after a little prepping and a day of freezing, you can have a large tub of creamy goodness to satisfy you through those long, scorching summer days.

Here’s all you need to know to get on the Japanese whisky ice-cream boat, and never look back again.

The Tips

There are a few tips to keep in mind concerning ice-cream making, all of which will help you avoid some disappointing batches starting out.

Don’t overdo the whisky. Most people think that the more whisky you use, the better. While this may be the case for life, it doesn’t apply to ice-cream. The best way to avoid this is to limit the alcohol you add to your ice-cream, by simply adding enough to get that flavour in. Some add whisky to a pot and boil it under a low flame until it’s reduced, but there’s no way we would recommend wasting whisky! Japanese whisky is scarce enough as it is.

The recipe below recommends adding ¼ cup to 1 ½ quarts of ice-cream, and that’s a great combo to go for. No one likes soupy ice-cream.

Salt & Vanilla. While using your own base ice-cream recipe, be weary of salt and vanilla. Both salt and alcohol lower the freezing temperature, which will make it hard for your ice-cream base to firm up and set. And between salt and whisky, we’re choosing whisky, right? Some vanilla can bring out the flavours of your chosen whisky, however, too much can mask them. So, add vanilla depending on the intensity of the whisky you are adding in.

Let it cool. Like beer, whisky, and any drink really, the flavours of the ice-cream will really shine through once it “warms” up. Leave it sitting out for a good 10 minutes, and consume once the top has started to melt. Set it on the counter, start talking it up to all your friends, and then dig in.

The Whiskies

Whisky ice-cream makers recommend using Bourbon, as it brings sweeter, richer flavours to the table. But, we think the smoothness and delicate profile of many Japanese whiskies is just perfect to add to your ice-cream base.

Suntory’s Hibiki blend is known for its subtle, balanced notes of marmalade, crushed almonds, vanilla and honey, and adding it to a vanilla base with make for a wonderful treat. A dash of the Miyagikyo Sherry & Sweet will fill you with sweet, succulent dried fruit, a touch of spice, and a lot of sherry wine notes. The peaty Yoichi Single Malt, on the other hand, will bring butterscotch and wood, and lessen the sweetness of rich vanilla ice-cream.

There are countless Japanese whiskies to choose from. Just remember, a blend will be smoother and more subtle while a peaty single malt, will be more intense and evident. It’s all down to personal preference.


The Recipes


Recipe by the Glenfiddich distillery (tweaked, UK)


200ml double cream

200ml full fat milk

1 vanilla pod

4 egg yolks

150g honey

35ml of favourite Japanese whisky


To begin, mix the cream and milk together in a deep pan and gently bring to a boil. As the milk and cream mixture heats, add the vanilla pod into the mixture to allow the flavour to infuse.

In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and honey until pale and light. Add the hot cream and milk mixture to the egg yolks and remove the vanilla pod.

Slowly stir until a smooth consistency is achieved. Rest the mixture until cooled, stirring from time to time to ensure none of the ingredients separate.

Once chilled, add the whisky and stir through. Pour the mixture into a freeze safe container, place it into the freezer and stir every 30 minutes until firm.

Recipe by Lauren Schultz, co-owner of Purple Door Ice Cream (Non-Cooked, Eggless Version)


2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons whiskey of choice 


In a bowl, stir together cream and milk. Add sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth. (There should be no sugar visible on the bottom of the bowl when it is stirred or spooned out.) Stir in vanilla and whiskey.

Chill mixture by creating an ice bath: Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and enough cold water to just cover the ice cubes. Place the bowl with cream mixture into this larger bowl and let cool for 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove ice cream mixture bowl and cover. Refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours.

Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker, then freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.