Top pairings |  What wine - if any - goes with ice cream?

Top pairings

What wine - if any - goes with ice cream?

It’s not impossible to pair wine with ice cream but it’s not easy. And there are other drinks that match better.

First wine. What’s the problem? Well in addition to being sweet, ice cream is - er - icy so tends to strip the flavour out of sweet wines. One exception is unctuous sticky PX (Pedro Ximenez) sherry which is not only good with ice cream (preferably vanilla or rum and raisin) but on it.

Also if ice cream is served as part of a dessert especially a warm dessert like an apple pie or crumble it warms it up and makes it less difficult to match. In fact you're best to match the dessert rather than the ice cream. See the best pairings for apple desserts.

But in general it’s better to turn to liqueurs which are super-sweet and syrupy themselves. For example:

Cherry brandy with a cherry (or raspberry) ripple ice cream

Apricot brandy with apricot or peach ice cream

Salted caramel liqueur with praline (or other nut) ice cream

Amaretto with an almond semi-freddo

Fragolino (wild strawberry liqueur) with strawberry ice cream

A coffee liqueur (or an espresso martini!) with chocolate icecream

And if you want to experience something really left-field try this pairing of tonka bean ice cream with Pacharan (aniseed-flavoured Basque liqueur) I had a while back.

So basically enhance the flavour of the ice cream with a similar liqueur.

It works with sorbets too - think how good frozen vodka is poured over a lemon sorbet or of sipping a rhubarb gin with a rhubarb sorbet. A lot of fruit flavoured gins (which are essentially liqueurs) are sweet enough to go with a sorbet or ice cream.

You could of course just take the view that ice cream is enough of a treat as it is and that you don’t really need a shot of liqueur on top. Oh, go on then, if you must. I won’t tell!

Photo © MaraZe at

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Comments: 1 (Add)

Nick Brett on July 17 2020 at 22:28

There are no greater drinks and food than wine and ice cream. Surely the hight of pleasure. Thought I was on top of this and have already paired PX with ice cream, but there are so many new things to try here. It’s that Tonka one I want to try......

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