Four years ago Chris Taub was sitting in his downtown Denver apartment with a bottle of Patron and a carton of key lime ice cream. He imagined a creamy Margarita dessert, mixed them together and put the concoction in the freezer. His first batch of alcoholic ice cream didn't come out as planned.
“I put the two together one day at three o'clock in the morning,” Taub, the CEO and founder of Twisted Cream says. “I woke up the next morning and... what a mess.”
The hard part was getting the alcohol to freeze with the ice cream. He says his first Patron and ice cream mixture took two years to freeze. Most ice cream makers cook off the alcohol in their ice cream before freezing it, he says. This is what makes Twisted Cream special and it's where he gets the company's slogan, “The proof is in the ice cream.”
After years of experimentation, Taub, who has a background in science, figured out how to freeze the alcohol in the ice cream and so dedicated himself to turning the idea into a business. Don't expect him to let you in on his lucrative secret, though.
“We get the cows really drunk,” he jokes.
Taub started out selling his alcohol-infused ice cream to local restaurants and venues; his clients include Sushi Hai in the Highland neighborhood, the Fillmore Auditorium, and most recently, Folsom Field in Boulder. Six months ago, he quit his job as a surgical assistant in orthopedic surgery at St. Luke's Medical Center and opened his first Twisted Cream store in a former Heidi's Brooklyn Deli at 8th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. Judging from the exterior it looks small, but the inside is refreshingly uncluttered and very spacious.
Jumping from medicine to business came with its challenges, Taub says, but sales have been good, partly due to the warm weather that lasted late into fall.
One of the challenges over the summer for Taub was keeping up with flavor demand. He'd make batches in advance, anticipating which flavor would sell, but sometimes he'd guess wrong. Currently the ice cream is made in Longmont at a commissary kitchen, but Taub is in the process of purchasing his own machinery to make ice cream at the shop.
Currently, his ice cream has to have less than 6.25 percent alcohol by volume in order to legally sell it, but he's hoping to get his liquor license by the spring. Then he hopes to remodel Twisted Cream into a dessert jazz bar in time for summer. He sees the future Twisted Cream as a gathering spot in a neighborhood that could use some entertainment.
“It needs some night life” Taub says. “We're going to fix that.”
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With a liquor license and a full bar, he'll be able to take his boozy ice cream to completely new heights (and alcohol percentages). Imagine Rumchata poured over Fireball whiskey ice cream in a Cinnamon Toast Crunch-rimmed martini glass. That's in the works.
Right now, Twisted Cream is a fun, clean shop with modern touches, impressive artwork, and a nice selection of adult ice cream (and non-alcoholic flavors for kids, too). Add a jazz band, a full bar, and garage-style windows that open up to the street air, and it will be something special.
“It's D Bar meets Dazzle,” he says.