WASHINGTON — Three years ago on Christmas Day, Dan Gorham and his family were finishing up their holiday meal when they faced a dilemma that’s all too common for wine-lovers with a sweet tooth.
“We wanted ice cream, but we didn’t want to stop drinking wine,” he said.
They racked their brains for a solution. A wine float? No. Wine milkshakes? Also no. But wine ice cream? It was an idea they could all get behind. That night, the Baltimore-area family filed for an LLC and Winecream was born.
Gorham, an engineer, and his sister Katie, a public health communications specialist at Johns Hopkins, spent about a year on research and development and came up with a recipe for a product that tastes like ice cream, but has the alcohol content of a glass of vino.
The key to this confection is liquid nitrogen. Wine does not freeze in a typical freezer, even if it is mixed with cream and other ingredients, Gorham explained. However, liquid nitrogen, which is about -300 degrees Fahrenheit, freezes both the wine and the cream, together, while retaining the wine’s alcohol content.
Unlike typical reds and whites, the wine the Gorhams use in their Winecream is not grape-based. Instead, they ferment sweeter fruits, such as strawberries, peaches and pineapples, into wine.
Each serving of Winecream is customized to order. In a bowl, the wine is combined with a cream and sugar base. Fruit purees and candy toppings are thrown in and the mixture heads to a tank of liquid nitrogen for an arctic blast.
“It’s kind of a show … You get to pick your own order, you make it how you want it, you get to see it go down the line,” Gorham said. “It’s Coldstone for adults.”
Expect a sweet taste, and an even sweeter buzz. Each bowl is about 10 percent ABV.
“It tastes like ice cream, and then as you’re finishing the bite and it’s going down, you get the little follow effect of a glass of wine,” Gorham said. “We always say a scoop of Winecream is the same amount of alcohol as a glass of wine.”
Currently, Winecream is only available at festivals and private events, but Crossroad Company — the name of the family’s business — is in the process of a big move. The Gorhams are transferring their operations from Northern Baltimore County to a loft warehouse space in West Baltimore.
In the new facility, they’ll be able to ferment the wine, make the Winecream and package it for sale.
Gorham says the goal is to have pints of Winecream stocked in liquor stores in the Baltimore and D.C. areas by July. (The Winecream will be mixed and flash-frozen in the new production space and then kept in freezers in liquor stores.)