N.J.’s 1st ‘ice cream speakeasy’ just opened. And yes, you will be carded | NJ.com
Hennessy and pineapple ice cream. Patron XO Cafe and chocolate chip ice cream. Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur and fudge brownie ice cream.
Ultimate fantasies for the spirited ice cream lover?
No, just the menu at the state’s first “ice cream speakeasy.”
Luigi Beltran, owner of Luigi’s Ice Cream, has just opened an ice cream counter inside Ani Ramen in Jersey City stocked with “boozy” — alcoholic-infused — ice cream.
You can get non-boozy ice cream too, but if you want Hennessy and pineapple, Patron and chocolate chip or any of the other boozy hard and rolled ice cream flavors, you will have to show ID. Kids can try the non-alcoholic ice cream, but the boozy stuff is strictly off-limits to them.
The “speakeasy” part comes from the ice cream counter’s semi-secret location, at the back of the Ani Ramen on Newark Avenue. Walk to the kitchen, make a right through the unmarked glass doors (a sign will eventually be put up) and order away.
Alcohol-infused ice cream is nothing new; Beltran says his ice cream is different because the alcohol is not burned off during the production process.
“What makes us different is that you will actually get alcohol in the ice cream,” he says. “It’s stronger but no one’s going to get buzzed off this.”
Ani Ramen’s liquor license allows him to stock and use Bacardi, Patron and other spirits to make ice cream. The rolled ice cream flavors now available are Strawberry Tequila Rose ice cream with Tequila Rose, vanilla cream, Nilla wafers and whipped cream; HorChata ice cream with RumChata Liqueur, vanilla cream, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and cinnamon sugar; Frangelico Hazelnut Rocher with Frangelico, chocolate cream and Ferrero Rocher candy; and Godiva Dark Chocolate, with Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur, chocolate cream, fudge brownie, chocolate chips and cake crunch.
The hard ice cream flavors: Hennessy and pineapple; Patron XO Cafe and chocolate chips; Bacardi Toasted Coconut.
Beltran’s not done experimenting; he hopes to introduce sake and Japanese whiskey-infused flavors.
Beltran’s ice cream truck was a familiar sight around Jersey City several years ago, and it was one of the semifinalists in our N.J.’s best ice cream shop showdown. The truck is still used for catering and special events, but Beltran is now focused on recently-opened Luigi’s Ice Cream storefronts, in Metuchen and Red Bank, and in installing ice cream counters, with booze-infused flavors, at Ani Ramen locations in Maplewood and Summit.
The ice cream speakeasy inside the Jersey City Ani Ramen is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights only, and you don’t need to be an Ani Ramen patron, although most of the speakeasy’s customers to date pop in right after dinner at the noodle house.
Beltran and Ani Ramen co-owner Luck Sarabhayavanija knew each other as kids, but it was not until the two accidentally ran into each at a conference that the idea of a collaboration started.
I sampled the Patron and chocolate chip, Hennessy and pineapple, and Bacardi toasted coconut ice creams. My favorite: The Hennessy and pineapple. Sweet, smooth, borderline-sinful.
Peter Genovese may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PeteGenovese or via The Munchmobile @NJ_Munchmobile. Find the Munchmobile on Facebook and Instagram.
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