Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’ve always gotten a kick out of this one. In grade school you had to wear green or get pinched. I’m not sure where that tradition came from but you can be sure I was always wearing green. Later, it was cheap green beer and quite a lot of it. Could there be anything more disgusting? Later on, as our income levels rose ever so slightly it was beautiful foamy pints of Guinness. Ah, there is nothing better. If lucky, the barman would form a clover in the creamy head on top. To this day, I’m tickled when this happens. A properly poured pint of Guinness is a lovely thing and certainly cause for celebration.
In Chicago, St. Pat’s is a major event and generally one that takes some patience to get through. I must be getting old but the sight of drunks wearing goofy hats roaming my neighborhood at 10am last Saturday was a bit much. But the one thing that absolutely appalls me is the nerve – the nerve! – to serve a pint of Guinness is a plastic cup. Oh good lord. I am sympathetic to the logistics of a busy day in packed bar, really I am, but seriously? It ruins a beautiful thing so I grit my teeth and spend my day begging for a proper pint.
To celebrate this year, I decided to make something appropriately festive and tasty but I didn’t want to make a Guinness cake or ice cream. Too expected, too time consuming and I wanted immediate gratification. Taking inspiration from my friends Steve and Dan (aka The Hearty Boys), I decided to make Guinness Stout Floats. I know, it seems odd to pour Guinness over ice cream but damn, is it tasty! These guys are onto something. First you reduce the stout with some sugar to make a thick syrup. The flavor is interesting – kind of roasty toasty, deep and a little mysterious. Then into a glass goes a drizzle of this, a scoop or two each of chocolate and vanilla ice cream and then top it off with some Guinness. It’s delicious! And yes the chocolate and vanilla ice cream are key – both flavors play off the syrup beautifully.
I changed their recipe ever so slightly by adding more sugar to the syrup to make it just a touch sweeter. How much ice cream needed really depends on your glass choice. I made mine in a proper pint, of course, which required four scoops total and an extra shot of the stout syrup. This may be a bit much for some but I thought it was just right.
If you’re looking for something different to jazz up your typical corned beef & cabbage dinner, try this one. It’s easy, unusual, tasty and very festive. If you like Guinness, you’ll love this. Just make sure you serve it in a proper glass. Plastic is absolutely not acceptable.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: SLAINTE! It’s booze for dessert. Right on.
GUINNESS STOUT FLOATS
For the Stout Syrup: (makes about ¾ cup)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 (12-ounce) bottle stout such as Guinness
- Bring sugar and stout to a boil in a saucepan.
- Reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
For the floats:
4-6 Tablespoons Stout Syrup, or more to taste
4-8 scoops vanilla ice cream
4-8 scoops chocolate ice cream
4 (12-ounce) bottles Guinness stout
- Drizzle 1 Tablespoon stout syrup into a tall glass.
- Add a scoop or two each of vanilla and chocolate ice creams to each glass.
- Drizzle the ice cream with a bit more of the stout syrup.
- Top with Guinness and serve immediately with a straw for serving.