Don’t Be So Vanilla: 7 Crazy Ice Cream Concoctions You Should Definitely Try This Summer in NYC

In a city as massive as ours is, you never need to settle for normal.

Cooling yourself off from the inside out is one of the most important summer activities, and everyone knows that ice cream is the best method. 

But why put up with a familiar chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry variety when you can challenge your taste buds to try flavors like champagne or cornbread?

You can basically eat a whole feast of foods if you try enough of these quirky concoctions. 

So go forth, be hungry, and be bizarre.


1. Jelly doughnut at The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (65 Bayard Street)

mbearx3 Red bean & Pandan flavor 🍦

This small, crowded, but ever famous stop in Chinatown carries traditional American flavors as well as some fresh Asian treats as well. The lychee rose, Thai iced tea, black sesame, and honey lavender introduce tasters to more authentic Chinese flavors that are sweet and savory.

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Of course, the flavors also range across all sorts of tasty desserts. The blueberry cheesecake and German chocolate cake offer a creamier version of your favorites. The jelly doughnut flavor really stands out with its perfectly textured take on a familiar morning treat.


2. Alcoholic ice creams at Max and Mina’s (71-26 Main Street)

yvan.yve forever is composed of nows

This famous fixture in Queens features a whole wealth of weirdness for its curious customers. The most interesting have to be the beverage inspired ones, however.

The beer, champagne, and Cabernet Sauvignon cover all bases for booze flavored goodness. The founders of the shop, Bruce and Mark are always experimental and continually fielding new ideas for their eclectic ice creams (yes, they even have horseradish and lox flavors).

Nothing is off limits at Max and Mina’s.


3. Szechuan peppercorn chocolate at Morgenstern’s (2 Rivington Street)

eddiejew The finest way to cool down 🍦

Morganstern’s favors “texture-driven” flavor experiences, and lives in the Lower East Side. It may have started as a cart, but now it has a bright blue storefront to set it apart.

Although their cardamom lemon jam flavor is the perfectly tart and tingly taste for the summer, the Szechuan peppercorn chocolate flavor is their crowning glory. 

As tasty as it is strange, it unifies a spicy Asian pepper with traditional chocolate to give it an indescribable kick.


4. Toppings at Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (various NYC locations)

epiphanyxiann 🌈 #BigGayIceCream

This popular “powerhouse” started out as an ice cream truck in its early years, and now has progressed to fame and fortune. They’ve even published their own cookbook.

With ice cream concoctions that have names just as glorious as the ice cream shop’s, The Gobbler and The Mermaid present options for the more adventurous patrons. 

Winning combinations of pumpkin butter with maple syrup, and key lime curd respectively, these treats are served up as a cone and as a milkshake. The Mermaid Milkshake is particularly delicious for the summertime.

What really sets these mixtures apart are the toppings though: cayenne pepper, elderflower syrup, and wasabi pea dust, just to name a few.

Our favorite? The elderflower syrup: it tastes like a mouthful of fairy dust.

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