Nate’s Double Fernet Ginger

Alcoholic ice creams are weird. Because alcohol doesn’t freeze, it’s difficult to get the ice cream to actually not turn into slush (or worse), so the first step is removing egg yolks. Egg yolks lower the temperature required to freeze ice cream, so an all dairy version is more likely to stay solid. But even then, you still have to try to get rid of the alcohol — without getting rid of the flavor. Bringing to a boil seems to do the trick, or so I tell myself.


In the proper light, the syrup layer seems almost translucent.

My dear friend Nate, a fan of Fernet Branca and Indian food, suggested that I make a Fernet ice cream. For those who don’t know the Bay Area’s obsession with Fernet, it’s an Italian amaro that you can drink straight (eek), on the rocks (still eek), with Coke (if you’re Argentine), or with whiskey and simple syrup (in what’s called a Toronto, a delightful cocktail). Mixing it with ginger — which, as we know, is one of my favorite flavors — adds a nice bite to the medicinal tinge of the amaro. Nate’s birthday is coming up again, so it seemed like a good time to make another batch. He’s a smart guy, but this was one of his best ideas.


Serve in a cocktail glass — if you want to drive the point home.

I’ve combined it with a syrup of Fernet, sugar, and ginger as well — to mirror the flavor of the ice cream, and to compensate for a potential lack of Fernet flavor in the base. You can never be too careful. The general technique here will work for most alcoholic ice creams as well. More such recipes TK.

Nate’s Double Fernet Ginger


For the base:

1 ½ cups whole milk

2 cups cream

¾ cup sugar

½ cup Fernet Branca

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon dried ginger powder

½ teaspoon salt


For the syrup:

½ cup Fernet Branca

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon dried ginger powder


Make the syrup: In a small skillet or pot, bring the ingredients to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, until the syrup bubbles up and becomes slightly viscous. Strain into a small bowl, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for an hour.


Make the ice cream: Whisk ingredients together and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat, cover, and steep for half an hour. Strain into a bowl and bring to room temperature. Chill for three hours.

Remove Fernet syrup from refrigerator and pour half into the bottom of the container you will freeze the ice cream in. Return the remainder of the syrup to the refrigerator.

When the base is chilled, mix in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. It is unlikely that that the ice cream will firm up much in the ice cream maker, so don’t churn for more than ten minutes. Add the base into the container. After six hours, pour the remainder of the syrup on top of the ice cream, and chill for another four hours.

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