This fall Charlotte diners can have their cocktail and eat it too with these six decadent—and boozy—desserts. From bourbon gelato to tequila whipped cream, these spirited treats from talented pastry chefs turn dessert into a party.
Zeppoles with Aperol Glaze
Known for featuring creative twists on traditional Italian dishes, Angeline’s restaurant in Uptown took a playful turn with its take on Italy’s donut-like pastries. Executive chef Robert Hoffman was at a Kimpton hotel in Chicago that offers Aperol Spritz during its happy hour and had just been given an assortment of donuts. “I was eating a donut and drinking an Aperol Spritz!” The combination of flavors paired perfectly and the boozy dessert was born. angelinescharlotte.com
Chocolate Pecan Tart with Bourbon Caramel Gelato
“For fall we wanted to go with a hearty dessert that highlighted the warm and rich flavors of the season,” says WP Kitchen + Bar’s Chef Stephen Schmitt of this decadent dessert. The tart itself features chocolate ganache, pecan caramel, and praline brittle. And Schmitt is focused on using as many seasonal offerings from local purveyors as possible. “For this dish we source the pecan flour and pecan oil from Oliver Farm in Pitts, Georgia, and the gelato from Gnam Gnam Gelato out of Greensboro. It really is the perfect combination.” wolfgangpuck.com
Chocolate Bourbon Crème Brulee
When Gallery Restaurant at The Ballantyne Hotel partnered with Maker’s Mark to create a personal selection bourbon, the restaurant’s pastry chef, Noelle Gogg, was inspired. “We wanted to showcase the bourbon’s deep flavor and pair it with something equally rich, like the dark chocolate,” says Gogg. The result? A luscious crème brulee created with Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon and Valrhona chocolate. theballantynehotel.com
A Southern Living magazine story about the history of this popular cake prompted The Asbury’s pastry chef, Miranda Brown, to create her own version of the traditional confection, which features cinnamon, banana, pineapple, and pecans. “I wanted fresh pineapple—not canned—to be included,” says Brown. “But I thought that using it raw wouldn’t go with the warm flavors throughout the dessert.” Instead, she marinated the fruit in Belmont’s Muddy River Distillery’s rum before grilling it resulting in a sweet and potent flavor. theasbury.com
When Jeff Tonidandel opened Crepe Cellar Kitchen and Pub in NoDa in 2009, the Crepe Suzette topped with a Grand Marnier butter sauce and vanilla ice cream was on the original menu—and it’s remained ever since. “It’s a classic dish, and it’s really fun,” Tonidandel says of the elegant French dessert, which has been one of the restaurant’s most popular over the years. “Much of the flavor is coming from the alcohol. Plus, it flames up really big, which makes it fun for us to make.” crepecellar.com
The Bad and Boozy Shake
Uptown’s Coco and The Director recently began serving spiked milkshakes with flavors that rotate seasonally. “It took quite a bit of research and development to come up with the perfect recipe for Coco, and it was a very hard job tasting all those shakes,” jokes general manager Pamela Rucker. One of the coffeeshop’s baristas suggested the name—playing off the hit song “Bad and Boujee”—for this instantly popular mix of chocolate ice cream, Bourbon, and Baileys Irish Cream topped with Oreos. “Within the first two weeks of adding them to the menu, we sold so many we blew out the milkshake machine.” cocoandthedirector.com
This story first ran in the October 2018 issue of SouthPark Magazine.