Why Vanilla Is The Best Ice Cream To Use In A Guinness Float

Guinness is well known for its slightly bitter taste and the heavy way it sits on your stomach. However, as demonstrated by Mashed contributor Jaime Shelbert's Guinness float recipe, this stout has layers. By combining Guinness, chocolate syrup, and ice cream, Shelbert crafts a boozy twist on the classic root beer float. When it comes to which ice cream to use, there is one that is head and shoulders above the rest — good old vanilla.

The creaminess of ice cream and Guinness intermingle in a way that makes for a velvety texture. Shelbert explains, "Guinness contains notes of chocolate and coffee, so it pairs surprisingly well with ice cream." Aficionados of ice cream may wrinkle their nose at the idea of using notoriously plain vanilla, but there is good reason behind this choice. According to Shelbert, vanilla is the ideal flavor because it "cuts any bitterness the stout has." By balancing out that acerbic hit you normally get on the first sip, the vanilla ice cream ensures your Guinness float stays sweet and smooth.

Zhuzh up your float by swapping out ingredients

With only three ingredients, Jaime Shelbert's Guinness float leaves you plenty of wiggle room to change things up. If you want to preserve some of the bitterness in Guinness rather than masking it completely, pick up some dark chocolate or salted chocolate syrup. You could also forgo the chocolate altogether, with Shelbert suggesting that "caramel sauce would be a nice substitute for the chocolate syrup."

Despite what you may have heard from that friend who visited Dublin once (and who has been generally annoying about it ever since), Guinness is not the only stout in existence. One great way to level up your float is to replace the Guinness with a chocolate-flavored stout to emphasize its richness.

Vanilla ice cream may be top dog, but the runners-up are by no means unworthy. For a caffeine kick, Shelbert suggests that "you could sub coffee ice cream for the vanilla." There are plenty of ice cream flavors that you can use to counterbalance the Guinness. Adding chocolate marshmallow ice cream, for example, is a great way to complement the chocolatey notes of the stout while still smoothing out its bitterness. If you want to go full Irish (and have the time to spare), whip up some no-churn ice cream with a slug of Bailey's Irish Cream poured into it.