Bootleg Creamery Brings Boozy Ice Cream Into Liquor Stores
FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2017 AT 6:52 A.M.
BY LAURA SHUNK, Denver WESTWORD
Rohit Mukherjee owns a couple of local liquor stores, and late last year, he began thinking about a boozy gap in the market: Namely, there was no brand of alcoholic ice cream available on liquor-store shelves. "I'd seen the idea done in a shopfront...but we wanted people to be able to take something home to their party," he says. So he and his girlfriend bought an ice cream maker and began experimenting in their home kitchen. After the pair crafted a boozy eggnog ice cream that was a holiday hit, Mukherjee began thinking about scaling up. And so Bootleg Creamery was born, and Mukherjee began selling pints in a pair of liquor stores on March 10.
Operating out of a commissary kitchen, Mukherjee currently makes four flavors: Mudslide Moo'd (a blend of chocolate, vodka, coffee liqueur and brownie bits), Irish Coffee (coffee ice cream with whiskey, Irish cream and cookies), Piña Moo'lada (pineapple-coconut ice cream with dark rum, pineapple and coconut flakes) and Maple Bourbon (exactly what it sounds like). "For our first few flavors, we really wanted to go across the spectrum and give people who really like certain things something they'd really enjoy," says Mukherjee. "For people that like chocolate ice cream, we really went for chocolate. For people who like coffee ice cream, we used dark roasted coffee." The Maple Bourbon has been a runaway success, says the owner, which he says surprised him, despite the fact that it was also his favorite.
The goal, says Mukherjee, was to really highlight the alcohol, using classic cocktails as inspiration. The ice creams are made in small batches from a local dairy. And make no mistake: Bootleg's ice creams are alcoholic, weighing in at 6.25 percent ABV, the legal limit for alcohol-based confections. "We were pretty tipsy by end of first tasting," he says.
Mukherjee is working on developing new flavors, including a fruit-and-Champagne sorbet for summer, and seasonal recipes using apple and pumpkin for next fall. And he's quickly scaling up: he expects to announce two more liquor stores stocking his treats next week, and fourteen more throughout April. "We have plans to be in fifty stores by the end of the year," he divulges.
To accomplish that goal, though, he has to overcome a glaring obstacle: Liquor stores don't often have freezers. To get around that, Bootleg is delivering a freezer with its wares. "We're freighting in freezers right now and warehousing them. So, yeah, we've gone into the freezer business."
Look for Bootleg Creamery's pints at Willow Run Liquors, 12860 North Zuni Street in Westminster, and Big Liquor Warehouse at 100 South Abilene Street in Aurora, and watch the company's Facebook page for announcements regarding where it will be selling next.
Laura Shunk was Westword's food critic from 2010-2012, and since returning to Denver in 2016, she's been a contributor covering food and news. A former food editor of the Village Voice and a former dining columnist in Beijing, the hardest assignment she's ever taken had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on caesar salads.