Ice cream can and should be enjoyed year-round, but in summer, it’s more socially acceptable to eat a different scoop every night. With so much ice cream, the same ole’ flavors can get very boring, very quickly.
Thankfully, Denver boasts a wide array of creameries specializing in homemade, small-batch ice cream — each with their own unique menu of rotating flavors. We have found just a few of the most creative flavors Denver has to offer. These are the perfect treats for any — or every — summer night.
The Bananas Foster Gooey Cooie at Sweet Cooie’s
Where: 3506 12th Ave., Denver
Neighborhood: Congress Park
The Lowdown: Sweet Cooie’s version of an ice cream sandwich — the Gooey Cooie — takes decadence to a new level. The team dollops a hefty scoop of ice cream onto an airy brioche bun, quickly warm it in a panini press and finish it off with a drizzle of vanilla glaze. While you can enjoy a Gooey Cooie with any available flavor, they ensured us the best option was bananas foster — and we were not disappointed. The warm, light brioche exterior contrasts nicely with the cold, creamy banana filling. It perfectly replicates the contrast of textures in banana’s foster.
Bonus flavor: For those looking for a slightly lighter fare, try the Cherries Jubilee. Frozen cherries studded throughout the ice cream base add a pop of texture and real fruit flavor.
Peach Melba at Liks Ice Cream
Where: 2039 E. 13th Ave., Denver
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
The Lowdown: Similar to Cherries Jubilee, Liks’s Peach Melba packs a traditionally gourmet dessert into a single scoop of ice cream that can be easily served on a cone — no spoon required. With raspberry jelly swirled into peach-speckled vanilla ice cream, Peach Melba is unsurprisingly one of its most popular summer flavors. It may seem like an obvious combination, but you won’t be able to find this flavor anywhere else in the Denver area.
Guanabana Sorbet at Neveria La Mexicana
Where: 7506 E. 36th Ave., Denver
Must-Have: Guanabana Sorbet
The Lowdown: This lesser-known gem serves up a wide variety of classic Mexican treats, but the store revolves around its ice cream. Neveria serves some classics, but it also uses fresh fruit imported from Mexico to create flavors you won’t find in most America creameries. Guanabanas, also known as soursops, are — as the name suggests — quite sour. So this sorbet is perfect for anyone looking for a refreshing palate cleanser at the end of a hot summer day.
Bonus flavor: Don’t let the Mamey’s plain brown exterior fool you. This fruit’s creamy flesh gives their Mamey Ice Cream a vibrant pink color, mellow strawberry-esque flavor and unique silky texture.
Sangria Sorbet at Frozen Matter
Where: 530 E. 19th Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: When we saw the sign “ID Required,” we knew we were in for a treat. It might not use enough real sangria to get you drunk, but it is enough to ensure the wine and fruit flavors really come through. It’s light, fruity and boozy. While many alcohol-inspired desserts fall short, Frozen Matters will give you your after-dinner cocktail in one simple scoop.
Bonus flavor: Summer is a time for adventure, so step out of your comfort zone and try a scoop of the new vegan black sesame coconut ice cream. This distinctly savory twist on a classic flavor will appeal to those who can’t handle overly sugary desserts. Still, the coconut gives it enough sweetness and creaminess to ensure you still feel like you’re eating ice cream — and you won’t even be able to tell it’s vegan.
Gatorade Sorbet at Sweet Cow Ice Cream
Where: Multiple Locations
The Lowdown: The heat can quickly drain your body of energy and electrolytes. So replenish yourself with Sweet Cow’s Gatorade sorbet. Its super sweet flavor and bright color makes the Gatorade Sorbet the ideal treat for any kid — either in age or at heart. Plus, Gatorade is a sports drink, so we can convince ourselves this sorbet is a perfectly healthy pick-me-up on a hot summer day, right?
Bonus flavor: The Adobo Chocolate is a supremely rich chocolate ice cream with just a kick of heat. It’s both surprising and satisfying at the same time.
Colorado Honey at Sweet Action Ice Cream
Where: 52 Broadway St., Denver
The Lowdown: Honey may not be an incredibly innovative flavor, but at Sweet Action, the shop is turning this simple ice cream into a Colorado delicacy by using local honey. The South Broadway staple usually uses rice honey made in Colorado. However, in the past, Sweet Action has made its ice cream from honey sourced directly from the neighborhood. When the shop does get its hands on this honey, it goes quickly. But if you happen to be in store on one of those rare occasions, you absolutely must try it. Ice cream rarely gets more local than that.
Queen Bee at Nuggs Ice Cream
Where: 5135 E. Colfax Ave., Denver
Neighborhood: Park Hill
The Lowdown: Nuggs introduces some delectable add-ons to its honey ice cream. The Colfax ice creamery mixes in amaretto — almond flavor liquor — and honey-roasted almonds. The almond flavor remains subtle but gives the Queen Bee a salty aftertaste to balance out the sweet honey. In an ice cream world dominated by pecans and caramel, the Queen Bee takes a different and memorable approach to sweet and salty.
Bonus flavor: The strawberry blonde ice cream proves blondes really do have more fun. Nuggs add flair to its strawberry party by mixing in large chunks of golden Oreos. The best part? The frozen oreo filling tastes just like creamy bits of white chocolate.
Little Man (in Air Conditioning) at Milkbox Ice Creamery
Where: 1701 Wynkoop St., Denver
The Lowdown: Little Man is a staple of the Denver ice cream scene, but on a hot summer night, we don’t always want to wait outdoors in a long line only to have your ice cream melt within in a minute. Serving Little Man Ice Cream from inside Union Station, Milkbox lets you enjoy your favorite treat with a side of air conditioning. When you’re relaxing in the cool indoors, any flavor — from orange creamsicle to vegan chocolate — tastes like a summer flavor.
Andes Mint at Ice Cream Riot
Where: 1238 E. Colfax Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: Every flavor at Ice Cream Riot is true to its name. The shelves behind the counters are piled high with Pop-Tarts, cereals and even Goldfish — all of which Ice Cream Riot uses to craft its completely authentic ice cream flavors. So you can bet the Andes Mint ice cream is packed full of everyone’s favorite mint candy. Never again settle for plain old mint chocolate chip ice cream. Real Andes Mints make it so much better.
Bonus flavor: If you just thought we were going to gloss over Pop-Tarts, you were very wrong. The Blueberry Pop-Tart ice cream — made with real Pop-Tarts, of course — will make all of your childhood dreams come true. It’s your favorite fruit ice cream with the special additions of nostalgia and decadence.
Passionfruit Sorbet at Bonnie Brae Ice Cream Shop
Where: 799 S. University Blvd., Denver
Neighborhood: University/Bonnie Brae
The Lowdown: While fruit sorbets can be found at almost any creamery, Bonnie Brae steps outside of the mold by using passionfruit. The sugary sorbet helps mellow out the passionfruit’s naturally sour flavor. The added tartness and intense fruity flavor of passionfruit makes this sorbet more exciting and refreshing than most.
Eggs Two Ways at High Point Creamery
Where: 215 S. Holly St., Denver or 2669 Larimer St., Denver
Neighborhood: Hilltop and RiNo
The Lowdown: High Point just released a number of new summer flavors. The creamery’s ice cream flights — a sampling of five ice cream flavors and a sauce of choice — will let you try all of High Point’s new summer flavors. However, if you must stick with one scoop, we recommend the Eggs Two Ways. The custard-like vanilla base benefits from caramel undertones and a lemon finish. Rich and light all at once, a scoop of Eggs Two Ways will satisfy all of your cravings without weighing you down.
Bonus flavor: Another one of High Point’s new flavors, the Rose Gold ice cream tastes as elegant as the name sounds. The rose provides a subtle sweetness without being too overpowering (read: it does not taste like you are eating flowers). For those who enjoy natural sweetness, the Rose Gold is a good alternative to more traditional fruit ice creams.
All photography by Rachelle Foos.