A new food truck is rolling into Fairfield County and this is some serious scoop!
How many times have you come up with a brilliant idea, only to dismiss it or put it on the back burner never to revisit it again? Most of us do this, but not so for Brooke and Jon Albers of Stratford. Like all great ideas, It all started out innocently enough - over coffee one morning, while sitting on the couch, half asleep still, watching the news, half paying attention to a story about stout beer and ice cream. At that moment a bell went off in Brooke’s head – She had a revelation. She wondered, what would happen if you took some ice cream and some booze and put them together? And so she set off to find out.
Brooke purchased a small ice cream machine and set it on her kitchen counter. Soon the machine would start cranking away, blending vanilla ice cream and whiskey. The result was Whiskey Bean, an instant success. The flavors paired perfectly. And Tipsy Cones was born.
Brooke and Jon admit to being a slightly off-beat and quirky couple and so no one batted an eye or flinched when they started to tell their friends and family all about this great new business venture. This young, newly married couple was known for their eccentric ideas. They did manage to pull off a Super Mario Brothers wedding, and so those near and dear to them knew to expect the unexpected!
Brooke told me that “ice cream people are happy people.” How could they not be? People smile at the mere mention of an ice cream truck. There’s something nostalgic about it and the idea of it brings back many warm and wonderful memories.
It took just about a year and a half to bring the idea from concept to reality. With help from friends and family, the two have set off to build a professional kitchen, create new ice cream flavors, get a small business loan, a permit, and most importantly, get their ice cream truck. When John, a teacher at Trumbull High School, is not busy teaching, he’s busy with the handiwork. (He built their kitchen and renovated an old mail truck that now serves as their ice cream truck.) Brooke, meanwhile, has remained in the kitchen working, testing, tasting, and creating. Tipsy Cones now boasts about 25 flavors, 14 of which are in the truck at any given time, 8 or 9 of those are booze-free and there are 4-5 vegan flavors as well. It should be noted, for those concerned, that the alcohol does burn off in the cooking process, and all that’s left behind are the delicate and complex flavors.
The best part of this assignment was getting to sample a couple of the flavors. Since Mint Chocolate Chip is one of my favorites I was happy to sample some of their MINT CHOCOLATE NIP made from Schnapps and little bits of chocolate chips. I could immediately taste the flavors of the Schnapps. I was struck by how complex and deep the flavor was given that it was in an ice cream. The ice cream had this incredibly creamy, smooth consistency that is not found in your store-bought container variety, or even at your local ice cream parlor. This is in part due to the alcohol - because alcohol never freezes it keeps the ice cream soft and creamy. The other factor is the high fat content of the ice cream.
The next flavor I sampled was the MAPLESTOUT SWIRL. Brooke absolutely knocked this one out of the ball park. The two flavors complement each other perfectly, the flavors are complex with just enough sweet to balance the bitterness of the stout. Brooke admitted to struggling with this flavor for a while. “I knew I wanted stout, but I couldn’t find the proper pairing. I tried pairing it with chocolate and that didn’t work. As soon as I tried the Maple syrup and the stout I knew I had it.” Some of her other creative flavors include MISSISSIPPI MUDSLIDE - mocha ice cream with chocolate cookie crumbles, roasted nuts, and a dash of Kahlua and bourbon; NUTS AND BERRIES - ice cream flavored with hazelnut and raspberry liquor; MEXICAN COFFEE - mocha cinnamon ice cream with a touch of Kahlua and a kiss of cayenne; DRUNKEN FRENCH TOAST - maple ice cream with cinnamon toast crumbles and hazelnut liquor; LIGHTLY TOASTED ALMOND - amaretto ice cream with crunchy roasted almond slices and AMBROSIA - elder flower liquor flavored ice cream with infused fruit cocktail and toasted coconut.
Brooke believes that consistency is as important as taste and when she was developing the vegan line she was running into all sorts of textural issues. The vegan ice creams were just too icy. She would learn, however, that by boosting the fat content by adding ingredients such as peanut butter and avocado, that she could achieve the creamy consistency she had hoped.
Tipsy Cones is now available for private events and is making its way around Fairfield County. For those wanting some ice cream for a party or event, with or without the truck, all flavors are available in pints, half gallon and 3 gallon sized containers.
I put in a request for a flavor. I happen to love the combination of orange and vanilla as well as orange and chocolate so I suggested Grand Marnier with vanilla bean ice cream and some chocolate – Wouldn’t this be a perfect holiday flavor?