It’s been an eventful year for us at Ample Hills!
We opened two new shops: in Manhattan’s Gotham West Market and a seasonal outpost at Jacob Riis Beach Bazaar. Our Vanderbilt location closed for a substantial remodel, reopening with more flavors, better seating and fresh paint. We designed new pint containers with bright red lids, created new flavors, and worked with our friends at Baked and Four & Twenty Blackbirds on some epic collaborations. Over the summer, Oprah proclaimed us her favorite ice cream, It Came From Gowanus took the title of Top Ice Cream in the Country on The Food Network, and we continued to hold the title of Zagat’s “Top-Rated Ice Cream in New York.” We are grateful and proud and excited for new adventures in 2016, but want to take a moment and savor the sweet stuff from the past year. Here is our Best of 2015...
Best TV Flavor : One More For The Road / Mad Men
This May, we said goodbye to the team at Sterling Cooper (Draper Price // McCann Erickson) and toasted their departure with a flavor that Dick Whitman would approve of : an old fashioned ice cream. Sweet cream base made with Canadian Club whisky (of course) and pieces of glazed orange peel. Bet you’d like to buy the world a scoop!
Best Movie Flavor : The Force / Star Wars
This year concluded with the movie of the century. We are still pinching ourselves over being a part of The Force Awakens. We worked for months on designing collectible, Limited-Edition pint containers and customizing two flavors : The Light Side and The Dark Side, and have been shipping pint packages of the sides of The Force throughout the country.
(Don’t worry, you can still order yours! Do or do not. There is no try. Click here to pre-order.)
Best Mix-In : Peanut Butter 4 President’s peanut butter ooey gooey butter cake
In March, we hosted a March Madness-style competition where past flavors competed for a chance to reenter our dipping cabinet. Our “Flavor Frenzy” concluded with a heated match-up between Peanut Butter 4 President and No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bread! Both flavors feature some epic mix-ins, but the winning flavor, PB 4 Prez, boasts chocolate peanut butter ooey gooey butter cake. No contest : Peanut Butter 4 President took the title, reentered the dipping cabinet and takes this category for Best Mix-In.
Best Seasonal Creation : Black & Walt ice cream sandwich
This summer, we collaborated with Baked on an ice cream sandwich. The Black & Walt featured vanilla malted ice cream, layers of fudge, sandwiched in a Baked Black & White cookie and rolled in cocoa crispies. We knew we had a good thing going, but we did not anticipate such high demand for this sandwich and worked tirelessly to produce (by hand!) hundreds of sandwiches throughout the summer.
Best Name : Baby, I Was Churned This Way!
For Pride Month (June) we renamed a returning favorite : salted hazelnut ice cream and chocolate-covered rainbow-colored sunflower seeds. The resulting flavor was sweet, a little salty and full of rainbows. We invited fans to name the flavor (for a chance to win tickets to Fun Home The Musical) and Brett Hall’s, “Baby, I Was Churned This Way!” was the clear winner.
Best Sundae : Nuts For Pumpkin
It’s easy to fall into the #PSL haze in October, but this sundae rose above. Made with a base of POG (pumpkin ooey gooey), Bourbon St. ice cream, marshmallow topping and wet walnuts-- the combination was mouth-watering and autumnal.
Best Soft Serve : Cookie Milk
This August, we experimented with making a soft serve taste like a chocolate chip cookie. We started by baking chocolate chip cookies and steeping them in milk and cream. The resulting cookie-filled mixture was churned into soft serve. It’s a laborious, but completely delicious process.
Best Cake : Walt & the Blackbirds
We make lots of ice cream cakes, for birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, but the best cake this year came in November and is truthfully more of a pie. We used Four & Twenty’s Salty Honey pie as the base for a mountain of our Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace, layered with fudge and sprinkled with Crack Cookies. We’re proud of this new Thanksgiving centerpiece!
Biggest Makeover: Vanderbilt
In January, we closed our mothership location in Prospect Heights for a makeover. Over the five weeks of papered windows, we re-muraled, repainted, refinished and reopened with 24 flavors, including the Vanderbilt-exclusive flavor, The Commodore. The new kitchen and extended dipping cabinets have helped cut down wait times in summertime and give a bit more space in the wintertime.
Best Sign : Clever Girl by Aaron
This summer, Aaron made a series of chalkboard signs at our Vanderbilt shop inspired by summer blockbusters : Independence Day, Jaws, Alien, to name just a few. They were all amazing (check out the collection #aaronsblockbusters), but our favorite was Jurassic Park.
Best Sorbet : Barry Collins
We made a lot of amazing sorbets this year : Salute with limoncello, pomegranate margarita sorbet and others inspired by Moscow Mules, but the top spot goes to Barry Collins. We partnered with Gotham Greens (a greenhouse on top of Brooklyn’s Whole Foods) to make a bright and fragrant basil, raspberry and gin vegan sorbet.
Best New Flavor : PB's Twisted Krispie Trip
The brainchild of our Chef, Graham (who also made the flavor sign), this pretzel peanut butter base is what dreams are made of; combined with the peanut butter crispie cup, coated in chocolate, we’ve got a real winner here. Where will PB go next?
Nothing Says "I Love You" Like : Valentine's Day Four Pack
In February, we offered a four-pack of flavors online for nationwide shipping. Bittersweet & Salty, Mexican Hot Chocolate, Raspberries & Cream and Be Mine (strawberry with chocolate swirls). A box of ice cream delivered to your loved one’s doorstep certainly beats roses.
I Wait All Year For : Oscar Night
There are a lot of flavors we make once a year : New Year’s Eve sorbet, Lucky Nuts for St. Patrick’s Day, but the real annual treat features red velvet cake: Oscar Night. Cream cheese vanilla ice cream with pieces of red velvet cake from One Girl Cookies is fitting of this black-tie affair.
and The Halley's Comet Award : I’m Gonna Marry This!
The once in a lifetime award goes to the remaking and renaming of our candied bacon flavor. Katie (who used to manage our Vanderbilt location) got engaged to Jake (who used to manage our Gowanus location), as the final surprise, Jake arranged for the kitchen to make Katie’s favorite flavor, the one that she named “I Wanna Marry This!” because she loved it so much. In honor of their engagement we renamed the maple ice cream with chocolate-covered bacon toffee, I’m Gonna Marry This! It seemed right for the occasion.