Vegan Ice Cream for Margarita Day

I was watching Oscar previews and thinking about getting outside quickly during this short window of sun and double digit temperatures in NYC, when I learned that today is National Margarita Day. Where? On twitter of course. (BTW, I’m @Goodcakesfran.) I don’t eat much ice cream in winter, especially not during this super frigid one. Still, I couldn’t resist posting this recipe from my Vegan Chocolate book for the ‘holiday’. Enjoy now, or enjoy when the weather changes for good. Happy National Margarita Day and Oscar night. Good luck to all the talent in Hollywood!

Chocolate Margarita Ice Cream from Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan

Rim a cocktail glass with salt, fill it with ice cubes, and then pour in one ounce of premium agave-based tequila, a half-ounce of triple sec, and a half-ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice. Stir a few times until chilled. Sip slowly. That’s my recipe for a perfect margarita.

When I began thinking about making a margarita-flavored chocolate ice cream, I had to play with perfection. Too much alcohol prevents ice cream from freezing, but too little “margarita mix” and the flavor won’t come through. This is all to say that this ice cream required more tests than many of the recipes in the ice cream chaper in Vegan Chocolate. (I can assure you that even the rejected recipes were eaten or sipped!) When finally the recipe worked, using the Sweet Thick Cashew Cream as a base, it was clear to me and the testers that the hardest part about making this recipe is not drinking the base straight-up first.

Note: Because the freezing point of alcohol is much lower than water, boozy ice creams take longer to churn.

Chocolate Margarita Ice Cream

Makes About A Pint / 500 Ml


  • 1⁄4 cup / 25 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1⁄4 cup / 60 ml pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber, or agave syrup
  • 1 recipe Sweet Thick Cashew Cream (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons / 30 ml tequila
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons / 7.5 ml triple sec
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 drops pure lime oil or the zest of one organic lime
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon guar gum
  • Flaked sea salt, for serving (optional)
  • Thinly sliced limes dipped in sugar, for serving (optional)


  1. Add the cocoa powder and maple syrup or agave syrup to the blender. Blend on low to mix. The cocoa will not be completely dissolved. Do not wash the blender.
  2. Add enough water to the Sweet Thick Cashew Cream to make 2 cups / 480 ml, then add 2 more tablespoons / 30 ml of water. Add to the blender. Blend, starting on low, then quickly increase the speed to high for 1 minute.
  3. Add the tequila, triple sec, salt, and lime oil (or lime zest). Blend until incorporated.
  4.  Sprinkle the guar gum directly onto the mixture. Blend on low for 30 seconds, then quickly increase the speed to high and blend for 1 minute.
  5.  Pour the ice cream base into a 2-cup / 1⁄2-liter container. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours until thoroughly chilled before churning. Chilling the base thoroughly means faster churning, which results in a creamier frozen dessert.
  6.  When the mixture is cold, give it a good whisk. Pour it into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s directions. The ice cream will look like soft serve when it is ready.
  7. Using a silicone spatula, immediately transfer the ice cream to the chilled storage container. Cover tightly and freeze for at least 3 hours or longer until the ice cream is firm enough to scoop.

Serve the ice cream in chilled bowls with a sprinkle of flaked sea salt and garnish with thinly sliced limes dipped in sugar if you like.

Keeping: Freeze the ice cream in a tightly covered container. For the best flavor and texture, eat the ice cream within one week.


Thick Sweet Cashew Cream

Makes about 1 3/4cups / 420 ML


  • 5 ounces (about 1 cup) / 142 grams whole raw cashews, rinsed and soaked 3 to 4 hours or overnight
  • 2/3 cup / 160 ml  room temperature water
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml agave syrup or pure maple syrup, Grade B or dark amber
  • 1 teaspoon / 5ml pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum


  1. Drain and rinse the cashews in a strainer. Put the drained nuts into a blender and add the water and maple or agave syrup. Blend, starting on low, and quickly increase the speed to high. Blend about 1 minute until the cream is until perfectly smooth. Push any pieces of unblended cashews down into the cream and blend for another minute.
  2. Add the guar gum directly onto the cream, making sure it doesn’t land on the sides of the container. Blend on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to high and blend for 1 minute.
  3. The cream is ready to use now but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


I love comments so please let me know:

Will you be watching the Oscars?

Do you believe in Food Holidays?

Do you like Margaritas?

And my big curiosity… do you eat ice cream in winter?


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