STRATFORD, Conn. -- For Brooke Santagata-Albers, a former bartender, mixing ice cream with booze, just made sense.
That is, after watching the news one Saturday and hearing a story about an ice cream shop in Oregon that partnered with a brewery to make a beer flavor.
That's when the Shelton native got her "aha" moment and started telling her husband, Jon, how amaretto would make a great flavor. As would kahlua. Or hazelnut liquor.
"I swear my muse had an espresso because in about 20 minutes I had a ton of flavor ideas (thank you, bartending), and knew exactly what I wanted to do."
After googling to make sure her idea wasn't taken, Tipsy Cones , the "grown-up ice cream truck" was born.
That was in early 2012, but because she and Jon, who now live in Stratford, built everything (the truck and commercial kitchen space), they weren't out scooping until October 2013. (Brooke admits Jon, a physics teacher, did the majority of the work.)
Fast forward to now and their Whiskey Bean (cold creamy vanilla kissed with warm whiskey), Maple Stout (maple ice cream with a river of sweet stout syrup) and Strawberry Short Shot (amaretto ice cream, strawberries and vanilla wafers) are just some of the more than 30 flavors that seem to fly out of their truck.
On any given day there are about 15 to 20 flavors available. Most popular at the moment: Mississippi Mudslide, a rich kahlua ice cream with mixed nuts, chocolate cookie pieces, and chocolate chips. Also gaining ground: Drunken French Toast, maple ice cream, hazelnut liquor and cinnamon cookie crumbles.
There are also non-dairy/vegan options such as Rosé Sorbet (peach and passion fruit sorbet infused with rosé wine), Peachy Bellini (peaches and champagne), Watermelon Mojito Ice (watermelon, rum, mint and lime granita) and Coloda (rum roasted pineapples, coconut milk, and coconut rum).
Brooke said non-dairy/vegan options are definitely missing from the Connecticut food truck scene and she's happy to fill the void. "I can’t tell you how many times people come running over to thank me," she said.
"We are often the only option for vegans at a festival."
But back to that boozy ice cream. Yes, it's made with liquor, but during the cooking and freezing process, the majority of the alcohol is lost, leaving behind only delicious flavors, explained Brooke.
"You won’t catch a buzz from us, other than a sugar buzz," she said. "That’s why we say we are 'Flavored, not spiked!'"
That means the ice cream can be enjoyed by everyone. "Because we only use the liquor as an ingredient, only a negligible amount of alcohol is left behind," she said. "We have a great following of future foodies at our truck."
They also have a great tagline: "Get a little Tipsy with us!"
Tipsy Cones scoops from mid-April to mid-November. During the “quiet” months, they book for the next season. Most of the truck's year, in fact, is actually booked by May.
Follow them via their social media accounts Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter. Their most consistent event is Black Rock Farmer’s Market at St. Ann’s Church in Bridgeport. They are there most Saturday’s from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m..Other than that they do a lot of festivals and a huge amount of catering across the state.
The good news: they are considering an expansion -- possibly via another truck or a small store front.
"We’ve had a lot of success letting the business grow organically, so I imagine our next move will become clearer as we truck on," said Brooke. "Pun completely intended."
Go to www.tipsycones.com for more information.
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