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Spirited Cooking: Bourbon, Vanilla and Chocolate Milk Shakes

You’ve been good all year: counting your carbs, working out regularly and even eating your oatmeal. But the holidays are about enjoying rich foods and fine drinks with friends and family.

And Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, owners of Brooklyn bakery Baked, certainly know a thing or two about overindulging. (We’re big fans of their Chocolate Whiskey Tart.) So to make sure the season was appropriately delicious and spirited, we asked the duo for their easy and sinful Bourbon, Vanilla, and Chocolate Milk Shakes recipe, which is featured in their new cookbook, Baked Elements: The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favorite Ingredients.


It’s a take on the famous Aspen Crud served at the Colorado ski town’s J-Bar and combines vanilla ice cream, milk, bourbon and a homemade chocolate syrup. (Don’t worry, the syrup is also a snap.) It all goes in a blender and is done in minutes.

The chefs recommend using Blanton’s or Knob Creek, but feel free to experiment with different brands. (You can find a new favorite in our American Whiskey Holiday Gift Guide that offers picks from Keith Biesack, beverage director at Brooklyn’s acclaimed Char No. 4 .)

What are you waiting for? Mix up a batch of milkshakes before everybody has to go back to the gym.

Bourbon, Vanilla, and Chocolate Milk Shakes

Contributed by Matt Lewis and Renato Polafito

  • 3 cups Premium vanilla ice cream, plus more if needed
  • 12 oz Whole milk
  • 3 or 4 Ice cubes
  • 2 oz Good-quality bourbon
  • 6 tbsp Simple Chocolate Syrup,* divided

Place 4 heavy pint glasses in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes. Add the ice cream, milk, ice cubes, bourbon and 4 tablespoons of the chocolate syrup to a powerful blender. Blend until smooth. (A good milk shake should be eaten with a spoon—so if the mixture seems too thin, add another .25 to .5 cup ice cream and blend again.) Divide evenly among the prepared glasses and top each with .5 tablespoon of the remaining chocolate syrup. Serve immediately.


*Simple Chocolate Syrup
  • .25 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (such as Valrhona)
  • .5 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • .25 teaspoon salt

Whisk together the cocoa powder and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until fully dissolved. Whisk in the sugar and increase the heat to medium-high. Boil the mixture for about 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Let cool to room temperature and store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

(Photo courtesy Tina Rupp)

Brands: Knob Creek
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