Bartenders have been stealing from chefs for years. This, of course, is why the cocktail menus you peruse are packed with concoctions made with farmers-market fruit, herb-infused liquor and never-heard-of-before flavored salts. Now, bakers are boldly swiping ideas from the mixology world and smuggling them into your dessert.
At the recently opened Library at Chalkboard, in Healdsburg, California, Pastry Chef William Woodward whips up the Drunk Elvis, pairing bananas, peanut butter and chocolate ganache with rum and a smattering of bacon.
“Alcohol in desserts is just another layer of flavor to build upon,” he says. “Their base sweetness and inherent fruit and spice notes just make sense to me. It also works textural wonders in anything frozen.”
That’s certainly the case at Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Among Chef Autumn Martin’s retro-inspired concoctions are summer-perfect milkshakes that meld vanilla-bean ice cream with ganache made from house-smoked chocolate chips and Laphroaig Scotch, or espresso and Old Overholt Rye amplified by extra dark caramel.
Late this summer, New York baking mavens Allison Kave of First Prize Pies and Keavy Blueher of Kumquat Cupcakery will open Butter & Scotch, a dessert and cocktail bar in Brooklyn’s burgeoning Crown Heights area.
“We wanted to fill a void in that we’re a bar, but we’re also a bakery,” says Kave.
The all-day, neon-accented hangout will be a destination for mint julep cream pies heightened by Maker’s Mark, fresh mint syrup and mint whipped cream, as well as ice-cream cocktails that will include a milkshake-styled rendition of the Ramos Gin Fizz. Caramel corn laced with hatch green chilies, fresh lime zest and Tequila will be the ideal margarita-chasing bar snack.
Among the drink and dessert pairings, consider the unusual duo of a hot fudge sundae and dry martini; Blueher’s grandmother always ordered the two together.