Boozy Desserts


There’s nothing better than a sweet, delicious dessert after an outstanding meal – except perhaps, a sweet, delicious dessert with booze in it. This week, The Vivant talked with our favorite cabal of gourmets, gourmands and assorted food bloggers to see how they use liquor as an ingredient in their favorite desserts.

Whiskey and Star Anise Pudding from Zhi Herbals

Rachel Miller, herbalist and nutritionist and owner of Zhi Herbals, shared her delicious recipe for whiskey and star anise pudding. It’s incredibly decadent (and vegan friendly), and Rachel says she sometimes serves it over blackberries. I like the addition of the star anise! It really adds a nice fragrance to the mix.


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup whiskey
  • 1-2/3 cup cashew, almond or soy milk
  • ¼ cup star anise pods
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean powder


  1. In a small pot add the brown sugar, whiskey, non-dairy milk, star anise, and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-5 minutes, or to taste. Once you are satisfied with the flavour, strain the star anise pods from the mixture and return the liquid to the pot.
  2. Next, bring the liquid to a low simmer and add in the cornstarch, whisking frequently to ensure that no clumps form. After approximately 10-15 minutes, your mixture will have thickened considerably. Cook for 2-3 minutes longer, and then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla powder (optional) and place your pudding in the fridge to chill for at least three hours. Garnish with blackberries and serve.

Greedy Gourmet’s Gin & Tonic Cheesecake

I occasionally (well, okay – almost every time) sip on a martini or a gin & tonic while I’m baking. Michelle Minnaar, food blogger at the Greedy Gourmet, has an even better idea – why not put the gin & tonic directly in the cheesecake? Why didn’t I think of that? Michelle, you’re brilliant. I’m absolutely making one of these this weekend.

For those of you not accustomed to Britishisms, Hobnobs are an English digestive biscuit (or “cookie,” if you insist on being American) with a really delightful flavor. If you can’t find them, just use a graham cracker crust instead.


  • 10-1/2 oz Hobnobs
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 limes
  • 5 gelatine leaves (gelatin sheets)
  • ½ cup gin
  • ½ cup tonic water
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 2-2/3 cups cream cheese
  • 1-1/4 cup double cream
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • Limes, for garnish


  1. Place the biscuits in a food processor and blitz until they turn into fine crumbs.
  2. Zest the limes and add zest to the biscuit crumbs.
  3. Pour the butter into the biscuit mixture and stir.
  4. Tip the biscuit mixture into a 20cm (8in) springform tin, then flatten, pressing hard to make the base compact.
  5. Place the gelatine leaves in cold water for 3 minutes or until softened.
  6. Meanwhile, pour the gin, tonic water and caster sugar in a saucepan. Heat the contents slowly and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.
  7. Gently squeeze the excess moisture out of the now softened gelatine leaves and add them to the gin solution. Stir until the gelatine has fully dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  8. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  9. Remember the two limes you zested? Juice one of them.
  10. Using a stand mixer, whisk the cream cheese, sugar and lime juice until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  11. While whisking, slowly pour the gin solution to the cream cheese mixture until everything is well incorporated.
  12. Gently fold in the double cream.
  13. Spoon the cheesecake filling onto the biscuit base inside the springform tin. Smoothen the top and give the tin a few bangs on the countertop in order to let air bubbles escape.
  14. Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.
  15. In this case, I topped the cheesecake with lime zest for a simple, yet elegant finish.
  16. Top with lime curd and gin and serve with a ginger beer cocktail. Enjoy!

For the lime curd:


  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp lime zest
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup butter


  1. Place all the ingredients, except the butter, in the food processor.
  2. Starting at the lowest power setting, switch on the processor and wait until everything has more or less blended.
  3. Slowly and systematically increase the power setting until you reach the maximum level.
  4. Leave it motoring for 5 minutes then over a period of one minute add the butter in equal quantities.
  5. Pour the contents in a container and let it chill in the fridge.

Omnom’s Afternoon Wake-up Call from Chef Kjartan Gíslason

What’s the sound you make when you’re eating something delicious and chocolatey? “Om-nom.” Well, that’s the name of Chef Kjartan’s chocolate shop in Reyjkavik, Iceland. Omnom produces small-batch “bean-to-bar” chocolate. Although I’ve never been to Reyjkavik, I did have the privilege of sampling some of this delicious chocolate on a trip to Stockholm a while back, and now I am delighted to discover that it is available for shipping here in the United States!

Now I love a milkshake on a hot summer day (although I don’t think they have too many of those in Reyjkavik), but I think Chef Kjartan’s boozy milkshake recipe would be perfect in any type of weather.


  • 1 Cup Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 25 fl oz Vodka
  • 1 fl oz Kahlua
  • 5 fl oz chilled espresso or cold brew
  • Touch of sea salt
  • 25 gr Omnom Coffee + Milk, melted, leave a little piece for garnish
  • Whipped cream
  • Freshly ground organic coffee beans for garnish


  1. Add ice cream, vodka, a shot of espresso or cold brew along with salt into a blender and mix for 30 seconds
  2. Take the melted chocolate and swirl it on the inside of the glass.
  3. Pour the milkshake into the glass and decorate with whipped cream, freshly ground coffee and a piece of chocolate
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy!


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