Summer Drinks: Harveys & Vanilla Speculoospasta Ice-Cream


So as we come to the end of summer I finally have a bit of time to sit down and write up everything I’ve had queued up. This summer’s been a funny one (and I’m still actually kind of hoping that it’s not done yet and September will see more sunshine and lazy days) but it’s been jam-packed full of amazing people, fun, travel, food and drink, a new house, new housemates and my loved one, then finished off (unfortunately) with a trip to A&E at the hospital this past week; regardless, it’s been fantastic. I’m only sorry that I’ve neglected my blog so much – I’ve been kind of busy trying to fit everything in before I start Leiths in October.

The kind folks at Focus PR sent me a bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream, the British sherry that’s been around forever but is enjoying a new run in the spotlight and marketed as a Summer drink. I would never think of sherry as something for the Summer, especially Harveys, it feels more like something you have by the fire in the dead of winter, but perhaps that’s exactly why it needs a new image. Besides, the Spanish have been drinking sherry for years and my fondest memories of it are in the height of summer with a big plate of tapas and jamon! So why not?

Harveys is actually a really lovely tipple – light on the palate and yet with a luxurious creaminess, I could see it being used in a variety of cocktails or simply served on the rocks (which is exactly how I enjoyed it the other evening).

Harveys have some of their own recipe suggestions, too:

Photo courtesy of Focus PR.


The simplest of serves, Harveys over ice with a slice of orange brings out the taste of candied orange and perfectly complements the dried fruit and toasted almond flavours of this delicious sherry.

1. Place two or three cubes of ice in a tumbler
2. Pour over 50ml Harveys Bristol Cream
3. Garnish with a slice of orange

Photo courtesy of Focus PR.


A glass of Harveys topped up with lemonade and filled with vibrant fruit is a refreshing way to wind down after a long day.

1. Place some ice, apple slices, orange segments and blueberries in a highball glass

2. Pour over 50ml Harveys Bristol Cream

3. Top up with good quality lemonade

4. Stir generously and garnish with a twist of orange peel

Photo courtesy of Focus PR.


Harveys frosted apple and ginger is bursting with effervescent flavours and is great to mix in a punch bowl to share with friends.

1. Fill a highball glass with ice (crushed ice looks even better!)

2. Pour over 50ml Harveys Bristol Cream and 50ml premium pressed apple juice

3. Top up with a dash of ginger ale

4. Swirl with a cinnamon stick and leave in the glass

5. Garnish with a sprig of mint and apple slices

For more ideas and inspiration, visit the website at Harveys Half Hour.

So those are a few things you can try if you’re after a slightly different cocktail but of course I had to try something a little different. Y’see, recently when I saw my darling friend Regula for dinner in town, she brought me what she called, “Belgium in a bag” – a bar of special chocolate and a jar of Artisan speculoospasta, a spread made from the ever popular speculoos cookies. It’s delicious and rich and creamy and all I wanted to do was spoon it into my mouth straight from the jar… but perhaps I should try something a little more classy? So I decided to make vanilla ice-cream with a swirl of speculoospasta and a shot of Harveys.

Why the shot of alcohol? Well, kind of old news for ice-cream making veterans, but putting a shot of alcohol in your ice-cream stops the ice crystals from forming, making for a smoother, creamier ice-cream. I’ve done chocolate with Bailey’s before which was delicious but vanilla and sherry? Well, it just may be my new favourite combination…

Ice-cream recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated

1 vanilla bean
400 ml double cream
280 ml whole milk
120 g + 2 tbsp caster sugar (divided)
4 1/2 tbsps Golden Syrup
1/4 tsp salt
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A shot of Harveys Bristol Cream
3 – 4 tbsps speculoospasta

Special equipment:
Ice-cream churner (I have a very old school hand churner from the 80s that I inherited – it works great, but if you don’t have an ice-cream churner you can very well make it by hand – David Lebovitz has a great method for hand-churning your own ice-cream)
Candy thermometer
Clean jars for finished ice-cream

If using a hand or electric churner, be sure to follow the instructions – does it need any parts freezing overnight? My one needs the body frozen for at least 8 hours, so be prepared and do this the day before. I’d also advise making the custard the night before and letting it chill in the fridge overnight.

1. Using a sharp knife, cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise then scrape out the seeds with the tip of the knife. Combine the bean, seeds, cream, milk, 60 g + 2 tbsps caster sugar, corn syrup and salt in a medium saucepan and heat over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until all the ingredients are combined and the mixture has reached 80 degrees C (should be about 5-10 mins). When it has reached this temperature, remove it from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and remaining 60g sugar in a bowl with an electric whisk until smooth (about 30 secs), then slowly whisk in the slightly cooled cream mixture. Return to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers 82 degrees C. If your mixture curdles you can save it by quickly straining it into a clean bowl set over ice, then whisking as hard as you can either by hand or with an electric whisk until smooth. Once you have a smooth custard, strain it again through a fine-mesh strainer into a large clean bowl, discarding any remaining bits in the strainer. Add the vanilla extract and stir well to combine. Let the custard cool to room temperature then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight.

3. The next day, remove the custard from the fridge and transfer to your ice-cream machine. Follow the instructions to churn and, after about 20 mins, add the shot of Harveys Bristol Cream. When the ice-cream has reached the consistency of soft serve, transfer into the jars. Create the speculoospasta swirl by filling it up about a third of the way with the ice-cream, then layering a couple of tablespoons of the speculoospasta on top. Repeat until the jar is full (making sure to finish with an ice-cream layer – you should have ice-cream, speculoospasta, ice-cream, speculoospasta, ice-cream).

4. Close the lid tightly and freeze until completely frozen.

So there you go, a few cocktail recipes and an ice-cream recipe from me. This ice-cream goes amazingly well with pie and, according to my housemates, “tastes like Christmas”. We enjoyed it with many of the summer fruit pies I’ve been making over the past month – you should try it out and let me know what you think.

Until next time, peace, love and sherry,

Jax x

Please note: though the Harveys Bristol Cream sample bottle was provided by Focus PR, no monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own. Harveys Bristol Cream (75cl RRP £9.22) is widely available across the UK.

One Response to “Summer Drinks: Harveys & Vanilla Speculoospasta Ice-Cream”

  1. Row Says:

    Oh, hey! I still have some Harveys leftover from when I made your pumpkin & shrimp bisque a little while back. These drink and ice cream recipes will be just the thing to use it up. Thank you! :)

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