When Austin reaches triple-digit temperatures, nothing makes me smile like tropical frozen treats.
Here are six of my favorites in town, all delectable and thoroughly “researched.” These inspired, frosty creations are difficult to beat when it comes to bringing down the heat.
1/ Hay Elotes
Hay Elotes, on Austin’s east side, reminds me of my time in Mexico. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming, modest building or the potholes in the parking lot. The frozen treat creations at Hay Elotes are dazzlingly elaborate with intricate layers.
Try a Mango Hill for a mango base, fresh strawberries, rainbow candy ribbon, and chile salt. The Coconada has coconut ice cream, blue syrup, fresh pineapple slices and strawberries, and whipped cream. Don’t forget the cherry on top because this is a cheat day–no matter which diet you are trying to adhere to.
These frozen treats are not cheap, but you’ll have plenty to take with you.
2214 E. 7th St. – Facebook
2/ Prohibition Creamery
If you think ice cream is good and booze is good, then boozy ice cream doubles down on the goodness, right? At Prohibition Creamery, the answer is a resounding yes. This adorable east side ice cream shop and bar is cute, and the enthusiastic staff makes hanging out at Prohibition Creamery even more pleasurable.
My personal favorite among the frozen treats here is the sangria sorbet. It has a refreshing flavor profile and a slight edginess from the sangria.
For those craving something creamier, the tiramisu with mascarpone, amaretto, brandy, and Patron XO Cafe liqueur is a stand out! Mezcal Vanilla is another surprise success, as the smoky flavors of the mezcal complement the creamy vanilla ice cream.
Kids in tow? No worries! Prohibition Creamery has a whole selection of frozen treats sans booze. The secret’s definitely out on this one, and I love seeing such a good, local place full of happy patrons.
1407 E. 7th St. – Website
3/ Dolce Neve
Gelato is more sophisticated than the other frozen treats on my list, but I’m a fan of Dolce Neve. With every bite, I can feel the passion and love they put into making quality treats. Each day, the gelato wizards at Dolce Neve offer between 12-18 gelato/granita/sorbet flavors, chocolate-dipped gelato on a stick, and several gelato sandwich options (including gluten-free choices). I have not met a frozen treat there that I didn’t love.
Dolce Neve’s offerings fall into one of three categories: staples, rotating, or seasonal flavors. Among the staples, my favorites are the signature Crema Dolce Neve, a custard base with lemon zest, and the stracciatella, a vanilla gelato with ribbons of dark chocolate running through it. Be warned that they often sell out of Crema Dolce Neve.
Rotating flavors include such heady offerings as mascarpone and figs, whiskey and pecan, and goat cheese with blueberry jam. Watermelon or Meyer lemon sorbets have made appearances on the seasonal menu lately.
This place has scooped its way into my heart.
1713 S. 1st St. – Website
4/ The Little Darlin’
This hopping South Austin dive bar keeps you guessing by changing out its frozen cocktails almost daily. My intention was to write about their frozen Paloma (Texas grapefruit juice with tequila). But when I went back, the special was the Mango Fandango—and it was even better! Mango puree and pineapple juice form the base, but Appleton Jamaican Rum and Deep Eddy Peach Vodka give it a kick! The chile salted rim is the perfect finishing touch. While summer lasts, you can expect to see more frozen cocktails at The Little Darlin’.
6507 Circle S Road – Facebook
5/ Jim Jim’s Water Ice
Spending the afternoon at Barton Springs Pool is the ultimate Austin experience for so many of us. On days when I spy Jim Jim’s Water Ice cart parked by the back exit, I cannot control my squeals of delight. How did you know, Jim Jim’s, that I’d walk out of Barton Springs rejuvenated, yet desperately in need of a mouth-watering, life-giving frozen treat? You get me; you really get me.
Jim Jim’s Water Ice peddles silky iced delights from a proper brick and mortar place, as well as carts parked outside of Barton Springs and Deep Eddy pools (on lucky days). Water Ice is kin to Italian ice, which means smooth, fine ice is blended with real fruit for a wonderful texture and flavor. Coconut is my favorite.
Jim Jim’s has been killing the frozen treat game in Austin since 1994. Time to check it out if you haven’t already!
615 E. 6th St. – Website
Okay, full disclosure here: Soursop does not make their own frozen treats. Gasp! But, come on, they sell popsicles with fantastic names like Monkey and Strawberry + Luxury! I enjoy this local food truck located at St. Elmo Brewing Company. The popsicles are a nice way to cool the taste buds down after powering through the spicy Sambal Wings or Fire-Burger with Thai chili and other spices.
The Monkey popsicle, shaped like one, is chocolate and banana. Strawberry + Luxury is strawberry ice cream coated in a candy shell with a sort of jelly-ish filling, and somehow it tastes exactly as it is named. A more classic option is Coconut, a solid choice by all means.
The frozen treats at Soursop come from Austin’s favorite spot for many authentic Asian goodies, MT Supermarket.
440 E. St. Elmo Road – Website
Note: I skipped the typical shaved ice, frosès, and frozen margaritas, because most people have already chosen a team for those.
Go Forth and Indulge in Some Frozen Treats
Swimming holes and frozen treats, y’all. They’re what make Texas summers worth living through. Remember, you can always burn off your frozen treats by swimming. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Enjoy!
@theAustinot wants to know:
What are your favorite frozen treats in Austin?
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