They Drive the Ice-Cream Truck Grownups Chase Down the Street

Jane Kennelly, left, and Sara Widenhouse concocted a boozy boom product.
Photo by Karin Strickland

After winning “Best Dessert” two years in a row at the Asheville Mardi Gras Cajun Cook-Off competition, entrepreneur Jane Kennelly and baker Sara Widenhouse, who used to run a cake-making business, launched Luscious Liquor Ice Cream. Now they sell their booze-infused artisanal treats at festivals, private parties and corporate events, and other venues around town.

Where’d you get the idea?

Sara: A couple of years ago we made a mint-julep ice-cream cake for a Kentucky Derby party.
Jane: With chocolate bourbon ice cream. We were like, “Man, this ice cream is good!”

Didn’t you lease a kitchen and restore a truck before selling even one scoop of ice cream?

Jane: Yeah. But we gave a heck of a lot of it away. We had a lot of parties, and got a lot of kudos. So we knew we had something good.

Is it harder to make ice cream with liquor in it?

Sara: When you add alcohol, it changes the freezing temperature. I had to work out my own recipes.

That’s nothing new for you, is it?

Sara: I’ve been a cook since I was six. I’ve done all different kinds of cooking. But this is the culmination of a lifetime of cooking.

How so?

Sara: It’s so creative and fun. I dig seeing people’s firsthand reactions to tasting the ice cream. That’s a real treat. Ice cream transports you back to your childhood and you get all pumped up.
Jane: People take a bite and there’s a special look on their faces. We call it the “luscious look.”

Well, this is adult ice cream.

Sara: Yeah, so there’s this sophistication to it. You can’t get a buzz off of it; you’d have to eat too much. But you can taste the flavors. That’s what it’s all about.

Summer means crisp ingredients like Limoncello and basil; fall brings hot-buttered-rum sauce.
Photo by Karin Strickland

What flavors?

Sara: Lots. We always have something with no alcohol for the kids, and vegan ice cream. But our best seller is vanilla bean with Maker’s Mark bourbon. And we do a chocolate-cherry cordial.
Jane: It’s really high-quality chocolate.
Sara: We do a sherbet made with Limoncello and basil.
Jane: Fresh basil from Sara’s garden. And we do a Lime Rickey sherbet with Tanqueray gin.

Do you make toppings?

Sara: Oh, yeah. We have a dark-chocolate hot fudge with Jameson whiskey that makes an amazing sundae. Another is cranberry-raspberry Chambord.
Jane: Last fall we made a hot-buttered-rum [topping], with real butter.

Yum.

Sara: We’re using real vanilla beans. Local eggs. Top-shelf liquors. Berries that are in season.
What about beer?
Sara: I make a coffee-stout ice cream. PennyCup coffee company, a local coffee roaster, makes the coffee. Wedge Brewery makes a Penny Hammer stout from it. We use that stout to make the ice cream.
Jane: Local, local, local. Triple local!

Photo by Karin Strickland

The Luscious Liquor Ice Cream truck is at Wedge at Foundation Studios (5 Foundy St. in the River Arts District) on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 12-4pm. Products are also sold at Pot Pie (203 Stone Ridge Blvd., Woodfin) and at Dalton’s Distillery (251 Biltmore Ave.). Single servings and “orange bombs” will be sold at French Broad Outfitters at Hominy Creek (at the hot dog cart Suns Out, Buns Out) through Labor Day, weather permitting. For more information, call 828-551-4429 or see lusciousliquoricecream.com.

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