The best things in life are sweet, according to lawyer-cum-ice-cream-maven Victoria Lai. She opened her first shop, Ice Cream Jubilee, at the Capitol Riverfront over the weekend with summery flavors made from local and seasonal ingredients. The space serves as Lai’s playground, where she dreams up innovative ice cream and sorbet flavors (half scoop, $3; full scoop, $4.95; triple scoop, $5.95). “I think about ice cream all the time,” Lai says. “A lot of my flavors come from asking myself, ‘What do I want a lot more of?’ ” Every ice cream starts with the same base of fresh cream from South Mountain Creamery in Maryland, though the results are anything but vanilla.
Clockwise from top left:
Banana Bourbon Caramel
One of the first flavors Lai made, this time-tested recipe blends mashed ripe bananas with the cream base and secret spices. Lai adds bourbon for some bite and finishes it off with caramel swirls.
The decadent treat is made with a 60-percent-cacao Valrhona chocolate crafted in France. Lai adds the premium ingredient to the cream base, along with Belgian dark chocolate sprinkles.
“Great grandmas will make you blueberry pie, but awesome grandmas will make you blueberry pie ice cream,” Lai says. Think of Lai as your young, energetic nana who will whip up pate brisee dough (commonly used for tart crusts) and add it to cream that’s been mixed with fresh blueberry puree.
Following a trying habanero incident (“It was not pleasant,” she says), Lai now dons gloves to chop the fresh habaneros she uses to create a spicy simple syrup. She adds a mango puree for an even mix of sweet and heat. “It’s like a pinch on your cheek, not a poke in your eye.”
Thai Iced Tea
For her frozen take on the classic Asian beverage, Lai steeps black tea leaves in her cream base and strains them before the mix gets bitter. It’s then churned, leaving behind a vibrant ice cream in both color and flavor.
Dark and Stormy
Inspired by her favorite cocktail, Lai steeps candied ginger in the cream base to give it a tangy ginger-beer taste. She then strains out the ginger and adds Gosling’s dark rum. It’s a rich, boozy indulgence without the hangover.
Gin and Tonic
Let’s all thank Lai’s mother for this creation. “I’m going to dedicate this one to my mom, because she loves gin and tonics,” Lai says. The sorbet is a bright, tangy and smooth mix of Beefeater Gin, tonic and freshly zested lime.
Cookies N Cream Cookie Dough
Oreos mingle with house-made (and egg-free) cookie dough in the shop’s cream base. “It seems like such a logical choice,” Lai says. “Oreos are awesome, cookie dough is awesome.”
Ice Cream Jubilee, 301 Water St. SE; 202-863-0727, icecreamjubilee.com. (Navy Yard)
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