Handcrafted in small batches and infused with local spirits, Rockland-based Crème de Liqueur is taking ice cream to new heights.
By Maria Allen
Photography by Lisa Czech
Whether you’re serving dessert at a chic holiday soirée or simply craving an indulgent treat to enjoy while watching a movie at home on the couch, you can’t go wrong with a couple scoops of Crème de Liqueur. This South Shore brand of liquor-infused ice cream custard is the brainchild of Nisreen Galloway and Elizabeth Nash, two friends who met while taking an entrepreneurial studies class at Emerson College. Among other things, the self-proclaimed foodies bonded over a shared love of ice cream and their memories of the interesting ways their family members liked to jazz up desserts.
Galloway, who grew up outside Boston and now lives in Stoughton, remembers her dad pouring a shot of brandy over his Sunday ice cream sundaes. Nash, who grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recalls the way family friends would often pour a shot of vodka over their lemon sorbet at the end of elegant dinner parties. Inspired by these experiences, the two friends decided to try their hand at making handcrafted boozy ice cream. Elizabeth started playing around with recipes for frozen custard (a Wisconsin favorite that is similar to ice cream, but made with eggs in addition to cream, sugar, and flavoring). Incorporating local spirits into the mix, she crafted a rich and creamy frozen delicacy unlike anything else on the market.
“We knew that we had to bring this delicious dessert to the masses,” says Galloway, who partnered with Nash to launch Crème de Liqueur in both of their home states. After spending some time figuring out the permits and other things they needed, they sold their first batch of liquor-infused frozen custard in Wisconsin in July of 2021, followed by a Massachusetts launch just a few months later, in October.
“While we’re based in two different states, we work together to run the business as if we’re in the same place,” says Galloway. “Beyond the stuff that keeps us geographically separated, like actually making the ice cream and delivering products, etc, we split the business responsibilities pretty equally. We are often both in the kitchen at the same time in separate states and checking in on what flavors we are having the most fun making that day.”
Nash and Galloway use the same basic recipe but customize their products for their regional markets by adding spirits from local distillers into the mix. For example, one of their flagship flavors, Chocolate Brownie Bourbon, features Nor’Easter bourbon from Triple Eight Distillery out of Nantucket. “Their bourbon has a more caramel finish than typical New England bourbon whiskey and pairs well with the fudgy brownies we get fresh from Mama B’s Tasty Treats in Rockland, Massachusetts,” says Galloway. “However, if you were to get a pint of the same flavor in Wisconsin, you’d taste a bit more rich and sweet notes from Central Standard Distilleries Bourbon (Milwaukee, WI).
This summer, Crème de Liqueur launched an Espresso Martini flavor that contained Taza Chocolate (Somerville) Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans for extra crunch. “Our Twisted Apple Pie was created to put the emphasis on the Demon Seed Whiskey coming out of Boston Harbor Distillery,” says Galloway, “The surprising spice of the scorpion pepper in their whiskey paired expertly with the crisp apple pie from Petsi Pies in Somerville.”
Crème de Liqueur flavors are rotated by season. Favorites include: French Vanilla Cognac, Rum-Soaked Maple Walnut, Rye Whiskey S’mores, Vanilla Bean Bourbon, Pistachio Amaretto and Vanilla Bean Horchata.
While Nash has made Crème de Liqueur her full-time gig, the business is still technically a side hustle for Galloway, who burns the midnight oil crafting batches by hand in a commercial kitchen in Rockland. On days she’s not working at her day job, she can often be found peddling ice cream custard at local farmers markets. Seeing her customers’ eyes light up after they taste a new flavor has been one of the biggest rewards. “Our liquor-infused frozen custard isn’t just about getting a buzz,” explains Galloway. “It’s a handcrafted dessert that focuses on sophisticated flavors and unique pairings. We designed Crème de Liqueur to be a celebration of local flavor in each pint.”