Treat yourself, it's summer. Top photo: @malai_icecream
The sweaty depths of New York City summers are made considerably sweeter by the fact that some of the best ice cream anywhere can be found all over Brooklyn. Skip the slice, don’t even think about your oven and take a break from farmer’s market greens for a night and make sure to eat ice cream for dinner at least a couple times during the warmest months of the year. Brooklyn is awash in innovative flavors and exceptionally good classic cones. Here are a few favorite places to get cold and creamy.
A scoop of Summer of Love, the new seasonal flavor from Ample Hills. Photo: @AmpleHills
Ample Hills is like Brooklyn’s answer to Ben & Jerry’s, but with bigger, bolder more colorful flavors and housemade ingredients, like the chocolate-covered peppermint patties in their Peppermint Pattie scoops. The shop started in Prospect Heights and has expanded to a bonafide ice cream factory wonderland in Gowanus, complete with roofdeck, and is known for their local collaborations, like the Summer of Love flavor they have on offer currently, swirled with tie-dye cupcakes from Baked By Melissa. Pints are available around the city, and country, now, and they have scoop shops in Prospect Heights (623 Vanderbilt Ave.), Gowanus (305 Nevins St.), at Brooklyn Bridge Park, on the Highline, in DeKalb Market Hall, in Gotham West Market and at Jacob Riis Beach Bazaar.
The flavors at Van Leeuwen are incredibly intense. Photo: @VanLeeuwenIceCream
This Brooklyn original is known for super creamy, pure flavors and for vegan ice cream that is so delicious you don’t even realize it’s dairy-free. Their shops also serve a mean espresso, and Van Leeuwen ice cream trucks can be spotted around the city. Pistachio fans will not find a better example of the classic flavor anywhere, which comes in dairy and vegan version, and the honeycomb could not be richer or more delicious. Of course, a seasonal special, like the sorrel, blackberry jam crumble currently on offer, is never the wrong choice. Find them in Greenpoint (620 Manhattan Ave.), Williamsburg (204 Wythe Ave.), Boerum Hill (81 Bergen St.), the East Village (48.5 E. 7th), the West Village (152 W. 10th St.) and look for their trucks around the city.
What could be more beautiful than this tumeric ice cream from Malai? Photo: @malai_icecream
If you want a more exotically flavored scoop, Malai is the place to head. They use spices from around the globe to infuse their ice cream with tumeric, cardamom, start anise and palm sugar. Try the sweet corn saffron in summer and move on to toasted nutmeg in the winter or just stick with the ridiculously good masala chai every time you visit. Find them at Smorgasburg and at Gotham Market at the Ashland in Downtown Brooklyn, where you can also take home pints.
The Mr. Potato Head Sundae at Brooklyn Farmacy combines sweet and salty. Photo: Brooklyn Farmacy
Craving a sundae or a shake? Brooklyn Farmacy is an old-fashioned soda fountain serving treats made from the highest quality local ingredients. You can get a real egg cream, a malted milkshake, a root beer float and there is a whole page of sundaes, including the Mr. Potato Head which comes topped with peanut butter and caramel sauce and North Fork Potato Chips. Sundaes can be had in half sizes if you’re feeling shy and there’s also a food menu with sandwiches and other items. Brooklyn Farmacy is in Cobble Hill (513 Henry St.).
If you’re looking for a side of social justice with your ice cream, Blue Marble is the place. The founders aren’t just committed to using organic ingredients, they also started an entrepreneurship program for women in Rwanda. Their ice cream is also delicious. Order the root beer flavor if it’s on special and extend your cone habit into fall with their rich, creamy pumpkin. Find them in Prospect Heights (186 Underhill Ave.), Industry City, and Barclays Center.
Nothing says summer like a scoop with a view. Photo: @thebrooklynicecreamfactory
If you’re after a classic scoop, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory has a short, sweet list of flavors that includes chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and butter pecan. Peaches and cream is as exotic as it gets and that is okay, because the ice cream is exceptional and won’t put a huge dent in your wallet. They have two locations, one in Greenpoint (97 Commercial St.) and one in Brooklyn Bridge Park near the ferry landing.
Oddfellows has flavors for adventurous palates. Photo: @Oddfellowsnyc
For adventurous diners, there’s no better spot in Brooklyn than Oddfellows. While you can get a classic egg cream or malt here, their flavors run to the exotic. Check their site for the day’s flavors before you go to sample gems like rose-raspberry-pink-peppercorn, butter, cherry miso, burnt marshmallow and popcorn. There are two shops, one in Williamsburg (175 Kent Ave.) and one in the East Village (75 East 4th St.).
The Camp Fire at -321 is like a s'mores sundae. Photo: @321IceCreamShop
This is as much about the experience as the actual ice cream. Using liquid nitrogen, they flash freeze the creamy base into an icy treat as you watch. Each preparation is like a cross between a sundae and an Asian-style shaved snow treat with tons of textural toppings. The matcha, their signature, comes with matcha ice cream topped with green tea Kit Kat bars and a dusting of matcha powder. Embrace summer and go straight for the campfire, with chocolate ice cream, toasted marshmallows, graham cracker crumble and a dusting of cocoa powder. Find all this goodness in Williamsburg (288 Grand St.).
Boozy shakes are Butter and Scotch staples. Photo: @drunkbakers
Ice cream is great and all, but sometimes you need a little something more, you know? That’s where the boozy shakes at Butter and Scotch come in. The Pretty in Pink Float sets a scoop of strawberry ice cream in sea of Aperol and rosé and the Root & Beer Float combine Root liqueur, stout and vanilla ice cream. Visit them in Crown Heights (818 Franklin Ave.)