When Bubba Cordaro, manager of Tony’s Liquors (6241 Line Ave., Shreveport), ordered an ice cream machine for the store, he was just trying to save a few bucks. That was three years ago, and the store’s seasonal eggnog daiquiris had become so popular with customers that another machine was necessary in order to keep pace with demand. When the new machine arrived, Cordaro and his sales team, Mike Towery and Perry Woods, quickly realized that it wouldn’t work for daiquiris.
“We actually listed it for sale on Craigslist,” Cordaro said. “It didn’t work well for daiquiris. So, we just had it sitting in the back of the store. We had to do something with it.”
Around this time, flavored vodkas were becoming popular. Perry and Woods started to experiment with the idea of creating alcoholic ice cream using flavored vodkas and liqueurs. They created the store’s first batch of Amaretto ice cream around Christmas of 2010, just as sales of their eggnog daiquiris were taking off. That first batch sat in the freezer, out of sight and out of mind, until 2011. That year, the three unlikely chefs decided to run with the idea.
“Mike (Towery) expanded the idea,” Woods said. “He perfected the ice cream recipe, made it smoother and creamier.”
Currently, the store sells five varieties of house-made ice cream: Chocolate Cake, Cookie Dough, Pralines & Cream, Coffee & Cream, and Bubba’s Blueberry Blast. The ice cream is sold in pints and is, on average, about 8% alcohol. The Chocolate Cake flavor, made using UV Cake Vodka, is their biggest seller. Less-popular flavors are phased out and replaced with new ideas from time to time. Key Lime Pie is the next flavor on the agenda.
“If we think it’ll work, we’re gonna try it,” Cordero said.