Thursday, November 21, 2013

Portland Ice Cream Parlor: Fifty Licks

What: Fifty Licks
Where: 2021 SE Clinton St
When: Sun-Thurs 3-10pm, Fri-Sat noon-11pm
Honey's Heart: Sorbet Cocktails (and Chad)

Katie and I are always flattered when someone wants us to come try their restaurant, bar, or in this case, versatile cocktail-serving ice cream parlor, so when we were invited to come sample Fifty Licks' dessert cocktails (available for $2 off during happy hour- 4-6pm) we jumped at the chance.

Fifty Licks opened its brick and mortar just a couple months ago and so far we are digging what we see. Offering innovative ice creams and sorbets, unique toppings, and our favorite, cocktails, Fifty Licks is essentially an ice cream parlor designed for grown ups. Love it!

We sat down with Chad, the creator, owner, and flavor developer, to try Fifty Licks' four sorbet cocktails while learning more about his vision.

Chad divulged that he has two main goals in mind when creating a new ice cream: The first is, if it's a classic, it must be the very best version of that classic. That's why you won't find a chocolate ice cream on his menu (at least not yet, anyway). As he explained, all the fat in ice cream dulls down the rich flavor of chocolate. So, instead of ice cream, Chad makes a chocolate sorbet as there's no cream to dumb down the flavor. Other classic flavor options include Stumptown Coffee, Tahitian Vanilla, and Blood Orange Creamsicle.

Chad's second goal is that if he's creating a new flavor, it must be utterly delicious in every way, so no novelty flavors for him (looking at you Salt & Straw turkey ice cream). Some of Chad's unique but very tasty creations include Jasmine Tea with Apricot, Toasted Milk, and Passionfruit with Schuan Peppercorns.

Fifty Licks' cocktails came about from Chad's desire to provide a place for people to go after dinner if they just don't feel like going to a bar. Fifty Licks is a great alternative if you want dessert, a drink, or both.

I have to admit, Katie and I were anticipating overly-sweet cocktails, which we are not a fan of. Instead, we tasted four perfectly balanced craft cocktails that would be delicious even without their complementary sorbets- though the combination of cocktail and sorbet was so out-of-this-world that I don't know why you would ever want to separate them.

Here's what we tried: 

Furacao- Passionfruit with Sichuan Pepper sorbet, Madeira, Brryh, bitters

Velvet Shiso- Coconut Lemon Saffron sorbet, plum wine, bubbly, fresh shiso

Nordic Palmer- Frozen Lemonade, iced tea sparkling mead, lemon peal 

Bitter Rose- Grapefruit Rosewater sorbet, Cocchi American Rosa, orange bitters

It's hard to choose a favorite because they were all so good, but we both loved how refreshing the Nordic Palmer was and Furacao really did have a great balance of sweet and bitter.

During our sampling, we also had the opportunity to try a bunch of ice creams and sorbets on their own. One stand-out was Cherry Bourbon (sorry kids, this one is only for adults...) which Katie immediately called it out as Adam's potential favorite. Adam does have a sweet tooth (and a bourbon tooth too) and upon visiting later that week and getting this in the waffle cone, Adam felt confident in stating that it was likely the best waffle cone and ice cream experience he's ever had. I can attest to this as he stated it no less than 6 times while we were there.

We also got to try Chad's Cuban Coffee. It was so good that we both drank two cups... and were up late into the night thanks to our mid-evening caffeine boost. It was worth it though!

The flavors at Fifty Licks are constantly changing and sometimes a flavor doesn't make it up to the board, so don't be shy to ask if your favorite isn't listed.

Plus, Chad just released three amazing-sounding fall flavors: Sweet Potato Toasted Marshmallow, Autumn Harvest (roasted butternut squash with a baked savory-spiced apple ribbon), and Cranberry Cherry Sorbet. Be sure to like Fifty Licks on Facebook so you can stay updated about all the new flavors.

P.S. A huge thanks to Chad for sharing his story and his creations with us. We had so much fun chatting with you!