Earlier this year, California’s Stone Brewing issued us a challenge: Could we create an ice cream inspired by Xocoveza, their holiday mocha stout with a cult-like following? This wouldn’t be an ice cream copy, or even one that uses their beer in the recipe. It would be a punchy ice cream that could perfectly complement the craft brewer’s big-character seasonal beer.
Now, a brew this wonderfully rugged is not easy to match. Go bold, and the flavors end up battling each other, lost in one jumbled mess. Pair it with something too soft and risk losing all the nuances that make the ice cream work. Jeni approached this conundrum like a matchmaker—if Xocoveza is the rough-and-tumble boyfriend, then our ice cream had to be the badass girlfriend. Tough as nails, but soft around the edges.
To create the perfect pair, we began at the same point of inspiration: Mexican hot chocolate. Xocoveza mimics the traditional spiced chocolate flavors with coffee, chocolate, chili pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Layered with earthiness, the beer is strong and robust; a punch to the palate.
We looked to the ancient Aztecs, who were known to add rose to their spiced chocolate (hence the name—“xoco” comes from the Spanish word for chocolate, “rosa” for rose). Rose adds unexpected softness to an otherwise rich ice cream we make with dark chocolate, jalapeno, smoked paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Xocorosa is spicy and slightly floral.
The result is an ice cream and a beer both delicious on their own, but great when enjoyed together. Xocorosa is now available the scoop and pint. Look for bottles of Xocoveza early October.
How to enjoy them together
We suggest taking a sip of Xocoveza, then a bite of Xocorosa—enjoyed together like a fine wine and cheese pairing. They’re similar, but distinctly different. In each, you’ll taste notes of earthy chocolate and holiday-reminiscent spices like cinnamon. But they divert from there. Stone’s mocha stout is semi-sweet and strong with prominent notes of coffee and mild pasilla peppers. Xocorosa is rich and complex, but light on the palate with a mouth-tingling, grassy jalapeno kick and a subtle floral finish.