July is National Ice Cream month! Declared as such in America in 1984, Sunday, July 20 is officially National Ice Cream Day. So this month, I’m celebrating this cool, creamy treat with an amazingly delicious local creation: High West whiskey stracciatella.
Amber Billingsley, Vinto Pizzeria’s pastry chef, came up with her recipe for High West whiskey stracciatella about three years ago.
Stracciatella is a variety of milk-based gelato filled with fine, irregular chips of chocolate. Billingsley’s variation also uses Park City’s High West Double Rye whiskey as a flavor component because, she explains, “the assertive spiciness comes through nicely with all creaminess.”
The creation was mostly a culmination of using what she had on-hand. “High West asked us to do a custom flavor of gelato for a catering event they were doing,” she recalls. “I did a bourbon pecan and really liked the flavor of the base. I had an extra bottle of Double Rye left from the catering and thought chocolate might be good with it. I don't think I used that batch for anything special, just regular service, but people really liked it so I didn't mess with it!”
And it’s powerful addictiveness is now spreading across the city. Last summer, I discovered this boozy treat when Billingsley served it at Vinto’s booth at Taste of the Wasatch and she’s also mixed up batches for Valentine’s Day and recently July 4th weekend as well as others. “Generally I only do it for holidays and special events, but with advance notice I can do special orders. I really love making it.”
And those who’ve tasted it love nothing more than getting their spoons into it once again. The crunch of cold chocolate ribbons blends with the rye’s notes of caramel and vanilla nicely while intriguing the palate with anise and cinnamon spices and honey. But it’s not the heavy, cordial-laced ice cream you might have tasted elsewhere.
Instead, the High West stracciatella is truly a one-of-a-kind treat developed by a talented chef who’s brought an exciting combination of flavors to the most recognized dessert treat in America.
To get some of your own, special orders may be placed through Vinto or if you’re lucky they might have some extra on hand from a leftover batch—just ask.