Tuthilltown Spirits & Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream Recipe

Picnik collage

Tuthilltown Spirits
14 Gristmill Lane
Gardiner, NY 12525


Tasting Room: Thursday – Monday from 11am-6pm, except Sunday from 12pm-6pm

Tours: Saturdays & Sundays at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm by reservation only.

I have been living in the Hudson Valley for over five years, yet I’m still amazed at the new things I find.  How I didn’t know about Tuthilltown Spirits until this winter I will never know.  However, I’m happy to now report I know about them and I’m in love with them.  They have turned me into a bourbon lover, which I never thought would happen! Don’t tell my gin that I’m cheating on her. I don’t want her to get jealous. And yes, I refer to my gin as a girl.


My first impression of the Tuthilltown property was that it was quaint.  I looked around and saw a few barns and a lot of barrels.  I made my way into the welcoming and warm (it was a cold January day when I went so this way a plus) tasting room.  It was early, so I quietly wondered around and snapped a few pictures.  I even spied a little kitty curled up on top of an empty barrel.  I knew immediately this was my kinds of place.


Before I tasted the bourbon I took a tour with the production manager Joel Elder. Let me tell you something about Joel, this man knows his stuff! I was blown away with his knowledge and understanding of spirit making.  Going on a tour with him was like watching a great documentary. He took me through each step of the bourbon making process, showed me how the equipment worked and even let me barge my way into get a picture of EVERYTHING!

Tuthilltown Spirits Mash CollageThe mash is alive! See that little bubble, it’s working away!

Tuthilltown Spririts Mash Room Collage

I had no idea how much work was going on on this property.  From beginning to end it’s done here. The grain is ground, fermented, distilled, barreled, matured, bottled, hand dipped in wax, labeled, numbered by hand on each label and finally packaged. For the small number of staff they have this is a lot of work that needs to be done.  Tuthilltown Spirits Stills CollageThere are three large stills in a room that is about the size of my house. Each still is progressively bigger.

Tuthilltown Spirits Still Room Collage2Mmmmmmm alcohol!

Tutthilltown Spirits Still room3This poor guy is in a lot of my shots. I guess it proves he does a lot of work!

IMG_7971Joel showing me the honeycomb staves that are inside the barrels.

Finally, after walking through the property, and asking a million questions it was time for the tasting.  I had to know what this stuff tasted like! Now, in full disclosure I have never been a fan of bourbon so I was interested in seeing if I could be won over.

Tuthilltown Spirits Bottling Room CollageFilling the bottles!

Tuthilltown Spirits Bottling Room Collage1Checking for impurities.

Tuthilltown Spirits Bottling Room Collage2Hand cranked labeler and hand written batch numbers.

There was a large array of deliciousness to sample but by law (boo) I was only allowed to sample three.  How in the world would I choose? I finally settled on trying the Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey, Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey and finally Spirit of the Hudson Vodka which is distilled from 100% New York apples.  After the tasting I wanted more. No lie I wanted more.  The bourbon was smooth and had a nice light oak flavor.  I thought to myself “I could drink this all winter long!”  And I did, just incase you were wondering.  I was also able to taste the most delicious bourbon barrel aged maple syrup.  It’s sold by Wood’s Vermont Syrup and I swear I could drink it by the bottle. Be on the look out for a couple recipes featuring their product as well.

Tuthilltown Sprits Tasting Collage


I left Tuthilltown with a bottle of Baby Bourbon, Hudson Valley Vodka and a Barrel Aged Cocktail Kit. If you have never heard of a barrel aged cocktail kit it’s amazing. The kit contains an empty bottle with one of Tuthilltown barrel’s honeycomb staves for maturing your favorite white cocktail with full American oak flavor (description taken for the Tuthilltown website.)  I decided instead of using it to add flavor to my cocktail I was going to make vanilla in the bottle. The most delicious vanilla I have ever made.  I will be showing this on Wednesday so be sure to come back if you want to see a step by step of the homemade vanilla making process.


So now that I was armed with some bourbon and some vanilla I had to make something amazing.  I finally settled on ice cream.  Ice cream is delicious anytime of the year…even if there is still a chill in the air…agree?


I followed a David Lebovitz recipe but tweaked a few things to add a bit more flavor.  Also, because of the addition of homemade vanilla (alcohol) and bourbon (more alcohol) the ice cream will not get super hard.  It will firm up but it will remain soft and creamy.


Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream


2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Table salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
5 large egg yolks
3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Source: Slightly adapted from Fine Cooking


In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup of the cream with the milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Warm the cream mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and tiny bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Add vanilla paste.

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with several inches of ice water. Set a smaller metal bowl (one that holds at least 1-1/2 quarts) in the ice water. Pour the remaining cup of cream into the inner bowl (this helps the custard cool quicker when you pour it in later). Set a fine strainer on top. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl.

Take warm cream mixture and in a steady stream, pour half of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.

Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof rubber spatula until the custard thickens slightly (it should be thick enough to coat the spatula and hold a line drawn through it with a finger), 4 to 8 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should read 175° to 180°F at this point. Don’t let the sauce overheat or boil, or it will curdle. Immediately strain the custard into the cold cream in the ice bath.

Cool the custard to below 70°F by stirring it over the ice bath. Stir the bourbon and vanilla extract into the cooled custard.

Refrigerate the custard until completely chilled, at least 4 hours. Then freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It will have the consistency of very soft soft serve. Do not panic this is ok. It's because of the alcohol.

Transfer the just-churned ice cream to an air-tight container, and freeze overnight or up to 2 weeks.

14 Responses to “Thyme Blood Orange Bourbon Cocktail”

  1. #
    Cassie — February 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    This is the perfect cocktail for a snowy day! My husband loves Bulleit bourbon!

  2. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — February 13, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    You had me at blood orange….and bourbon! This is the perfect snow day cocktail!

  3. #
    DessertForTwo — February 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I am not judging! I’m admiring! 🙂

    Stay warm!

  4. #
    Rachel Cooks — February 13, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    These photos!!!! SO gorgeous.

  5. #
    Joanne — February 13, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Is there ever a BAD time for bourbon?! I’m not certain there is!

  6. #
    Claire Gallam — February 14, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I need this so much!!!

  7. #
    Lea @GourmetMommy — February 15, 2014 at 6:40 am

    YUM. and so pretty. It’s kind of like a twist on a Manhattan. Love it!

  8. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — February 15, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Brandy this looks awesome! I bet all the flavors paired together are so good 🙂

  9. #
    Samantha @FerraroKitchen — February 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Good grief..I just saw this on Pinterest and I am IN LOVE!!!


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