Top Five: Liqueurs on Blue Bell Vanilla

Since I'm not a Texas native, I don't get Lone-Starry-eyed at the mere mention of Blue Bell ice cream, but I defer to its greatness. Blue Bell is not simply a taste of quirky provincial pride -- like Cincinnati chili -- but a champion amongst half-gallons, and a contender with pint-size premiums.

We've already heard about your favorite flavors, but I only have room in my freezer and waistline for a single half-gallon. Homemade Vanilla is a blank canvas and a masterpiece; and at night, when I can't decide between dessert and a liqueur nightcap, combining them is the best option. Compromise is rarely so satisfying.

5. Kahlua: The coffee taste of Kahlua isn't strong, and on Blue Bell Vanilla it acquires a caramel taste. There are stronger coffee liqueurs available, and the best -- discontinued Starbucks -- can still be found on the shelves of some liquor stores. I also tried adding vodka, which resulted in an extra-creamy Blue Bell White Russian, or a Blue Russian, if you will.

4. Crème de Menthe: Bracing by itself, crème de menthe mixes with Hershey's Syrup for a powerful chocolate mint. Alternatively, the addition of crème de cacao makes a delectable ice cream Grasshopper. Bols makes an acceptable crème de menthe, but the gold standard is Marie Brizard.

3. Godiva: The chocolate isn't even the best from Belgium, but the liqueur is light and subtle and doesn't overwhelm the actually-tastes-like-homemade nature of the Blue Bell. This is also the time to add fresh, sliced summer strawberries.

2. Amaretto: The Disaronno brand is the most popular. It's syrupy for drinks, but works well on ice cream. Luxardo Amaretto, in an odd, body-shaped bottle, has a lighter and cleaner taste. Amaretto combines perfectly with chocolate syrup or sauce, but strangely enough, not at all with the Godiva.

1. Peach Liqueur: Peach ice cream would be a more popular flavor if it wasn't mildly annoying to thaw out frozen pieces of peach in a separate part of the mouth. In lieu of prime Fredricksburg peaches, Matilde Peach Liqueur fuses with Blue Bell in a sublime manner. How's the hot weather in Houston? Oh, just peachy.

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John Kiely
Contact: John Kiely