Drinkable desserts serve up thrills and chills

chocolate milkshake drinkable dessert restaurant

Whether booze-free or spiked, desserts get even better when they spend a little time in the blender.

Drinkable desserts are most often menued as milkshakes, and those alone are perfect, portable sweet treats. But operators are now transforming other desserts, from pumpkin pie to cookies, into drinkable formats for an innovative twist.

Mixing flavors and formats

The dessert-blended-within-another-dessert trend may have started with cookies-and-cream variations. Eli Rosenberg, vice president of marketing at Chicago menu research firm Food Genius, reports that most shakes come in pretty standard flavors, such as strawberry and chocolate, but Oreo cookie has become the sixth most popular shake flavor.

Similarly, Julia Gallo-Torres, senior foodservice analyst at international research firm Mintel, says that dessert hybrids emerged as a major trend in 2015, and this past summer’s batch of shakes prove that drinkable desserts are the perfect platform for mashups. For starters, Mooya whipped a donut into a shake with a jelly doughnut Milkshake made with a blend of wildberry syrup, ice cream and doughnut holes.

Sonic Drive-In also turned some solids into liquids with a strawberry shortcake shake made with strawberries, cake batter frosting and vanilla cake pieces; the chain’s Caramel Brownie Master Blast® blends vanilla ice cream with salted caramel and soft brownie pieces.

If double dessert shake ideas ever run out, drinkable dessert creators can look to unusual ingredients to shake things up. Sonic takes some chances by blending Nerd candies into slush drinks and even serves a jalapeño chocolate shake.

Spirited additions

Booze is not new to the drinkable dessert category: Menu research firm Datassential finds that 32 percent of consumers are interested in dessert-alcohol infusions. Some notable versions include the Mud Pie Adult Frappe at Wahlburgers, where coffee liqueur, vanilla vodka, crème de cacao and coffee ice cream is topped with crumbled Oreo cookies. At Coppelia in New York City, Pastry Chef Felix Castro takes inspiration from Mexican cuisine with the El Ruso, a blend of FAIR quinoa vodka, avocado ice cream, absinthe and milk.

Beer and wine are the latest alcoholic beverages to be blended with desserts, and casual-dining chain Red Robin has been out in front of this trend. The burger chain’s Blue Moon Beer Shake is a grown up version of an orange-vanilla ice cream novelty with vanilla soft serve, Blue Moon® Belgian White beer, Cointreau® orange liqueur and orange juice. For wine lovers, the Little Black Dress Divalicious (red wine, vodka, raspberry purée and vanilla soft serve) is topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of raspberry syrup. The chain’s Mango Moscato Wine Shake is made with wine, vodka, mango puree and vanilla soft serve.

This post is sponsored by Sweet Street Desserts


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