texture of white ice cream like background, close up

Why Even Normal Vanilla Ice Cream Contains Some Alcohol

With the recent release of some alcohol-flavored products by non-alcoholic ice cream brands, it came to our attention that some of these products advertise an alcohol content that’s, well, pretty non-alcoholic. Why would you want alcohol-flavored ice cream without the buzz, we wondered?

But this post isn’t about bashing any other products–no matter how inferior they are to Arctic Buzz. 😉

What this post is about is alcohol and getting your buzz on with the best alcoholic ice cream around (that’s us!). Did you know that you can even get some alcohol content from regular vanilla ice cream? Maybe that’s why everyone loves vanilla so much…

Read more below to see why even regular old vanilla ice cream flavor contains a little bit of alcohol.

Pure vanilla extract has a 35% alcohol content.

Vanilla pods on black background

The alcohol level found in vanilla extract exists because of the vanilla bean itself.

There are a lot of imitation vanilla products on the market, even if they’re labeled as pure vanilla–particularly if they come from Mexico or the Caribbean. The best vanilla extract comes from Madagascar, and it has 35% alcohol content by volume–a level that’s maintained byThe FDA.

At Arctic Buzz, we use only the finest vanilla. Not even extract. We use the Madagascar vanilla bean itself. And we make our ice cream completely from scratch.

Even vanilla flavor powders have alcohol in them.

Vanilla stick and flour powder on the table

Natural vanilla contains a few hundred compounds that contribute to its classic flavor profile, the most important of which is something called “vanillin”–typically an extract of wood pulp. Companies aiming for the mass market will use cheap vanillin powders to approximate the complex flavor of real vanilla extract, but vanillin still contains 35% alcohol (some vanillin may contain glycerin instead of alcohol). So it lacks the complex flavor profile of pure vanilla extract, but it often still comes with the alcohol content.

This doesn’t mean that your regular ice cream will be 35% alcohol by volume, as the vanillin or vanilla extract will be mixed with other ingredients and emulsifiers to make the ice cream. But there’s still some there if it’s not burned off during the manufacturing process.

Let’s take a look at this excerpt from Nestle’s website:

Alcohol is used during the making of our ice cream as an ingredient in the finished product or as a carrier in a flavour. Our products with ‘flavour’ listed in the ingredient list, whether it is part of the ice cream base, coating or wafers, may contain alcohol used as a carrier” (Nestle).

Even Nestle, a mass-market ice cream producer, says their ice cream products might contain alcohol.

The FDA has strict rules about what is and what is not real vanilla extract.

Bottle of homemade vanilla essence on wooden background

The FDA doesn’t mess around when it comes to defining what is and isn’t vanilla. Seriously. Respect.

They talk about solutions, ethyl alcohol, semisolids… it’s probably just easier to check out their full requirements for pure vanilla here if you’re interested.

ball of vanilla ice cream in a spoon scoop

Alcoholic ice cream, liquor-infused ice cream, booze ice cream: we’re here to enlighten. And to get you buzzed with our alcoholic ice cream flavors and recipes.

Not only does our vanilla ice cream start with pure vanilla, it comes with vodka built right in. So for vodka-flavored ice cream to use for your vanilla ice cream cocktails, make sure you start with pure vanilla ice cream with a base alcohol content–make it Arctic Buzz vanilla ice cream.

See the rest of our alcoholic ice cream flavors here.

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