Gin & Tonic Ice Cream

juniper gin ice cream

Gin o’clock, anyone?  Second only to beer, gin is one of my favorite forms of alcohol.  Gin and soda is just about all I need or some gin and homemade tonic.  Have you ever tasted homemade tonic?  SO much better and less sweet than the canned stuff.  The real quinine bark gives the tonic a tea-like flavor with a little bite.  No need for lime.

After several gin and tonics one evening, I decided that I MUST make a scoop inspired by my favorite cocktail.  I did a little research on my preferred liquor and discovered there are actually many styles of gin.  In order for a liquor to be called gin, it must be a 100% neutral spirit and flavored predominantly with juniper.   Although juniper is at the forefront of gin, the additional botanicals lead to the greatest differences in gin flavor profiles. London Dry Gin is the most imbibed, such as Beefeater and Tanqueray, and is the best choice for a G & T.  My favorite gin style is New Western Dry Gin, gin that shifts away from juniper (although still dominant) to the supporting botanicals.  Try Aviation or Hendrick’s if this option sounds good.

So next time you are in the mood for a cocktail, think of making a cocktail scoop!  Enjoy!

Gin & Tonic Ice Cream
Adapted from ice cream base recipe by Jeni Britton Bauer
Makes 1 quart

If you do not have a grinder, the juniper berries can be ground using a mortar and pestle or by placing them in a heavy-duty bag and cracking them with a heavy object, like a rolling pin.  I found quinine bark at my local homebrew store, but you can also find it online.

3 Tablespoons juniper berries
2 cups whole milk (500 ml), divided
1 ¼ cups (313 ml) heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
2 Tablespoons corn syrup (30 ml)
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (11 g) cornstarch
1 ½ ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground quinine bark (optional)
1/4 cup London Dry Gin

Coarsely grind juniper berries.  Combine juniper, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.  Warm over medium heat.  Once warm, cover and remove from heat.  Let steep at room temperature for one hour.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water.  In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch.  In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth. Set a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.

After steeping, add remaining milk and cream to the juniper-infused mixture and return to medium heat, bringing the mixture to a low boil. Add ground quinine bark (if using).  Boil until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute.

Gradually pour the hot milk mixture through the sieve into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth.  Stir in gin.  Set the bowl in the ice water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes.

Chill the mixture thoroughly (at least 4 hours or overnight). Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Place plastic or parchment over ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.  If you like lime in your gin & tonics, serve with a squeeze of lime juice on top!


  1. says

    This looks so pretty! I have calf cramps all the time and sometimes I think I should start drinking a nightly Gin and Tonic for the quinine. But I'm not much of a drinker. I am, however, obsessed with eating (and as of recently making) ice cream, so maybe I can tell myself the quinine in this would be medicinal…

    I love your photos.

  2. says

    Dear Lindsay! So innovative – don't think I've seen many (any?) G &T ice cream recipes before, and your photo is soo nice! Love the contrast between the ice cream and the added juniper berries – really adds to the beauty of the ice cream (but am I correct in assuming that those berries in the photo mainly are there for looks, and not for eating?)

    Sticking to gin, I would like to recommend this refreshing recipe for Gin and Tonic Sorbet. Do give it a try, particularly if the weather becomes too hot for dairy-based ice creams;-)

  3. says

    You pretty much had me at the title of this post, G&Ts being my favourite drink and all! I love this idea and think I may need to try this icecream for myself as soon as possible (perhaps when it gets a bit warmer in Sydney)!

  4. Rosalie says

    Not being a gin and tonic drinker, I had no idea how this should taste, so I ordered one. My husband and I agreed that this would make some wierd icecream. However, we have a friend that drinks gin regularly, so I decided to make this for him. Not able to find quinine, I opted to make a simple syrup with tonic water and added lime zest and the juice from 1/2 of the lime. I must say, wierd yes, but strangely addictive. Our friend LOVES it as we do. Thank you for great icecream recipes.

    • says

      Rosalie – Thank you for your feedback and I am so happy you loved the ice cream. Great idea to make a tonic simple syrup. Look for tonics with actual quinine instead of artificial flavor for the most authentic taste.


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