Sweet Sensations: The Haute 5 Ice Cream Shops in Phoenix

After our tribute last week to frozen yogurt, you already know we’re fans of cold and delicious pick-me-ups. Maybe you prefer a sundae or banana split to a cup of fro-yo, or maybe you play both sides of the dessert line – but we don’t judge. And we’re here to enable your ice cream habit. Here are the Haute 5 places to grab a few scoops around town.

Sugar Bowl

A staple of Old Town Scottsdale since 1958, the Sugar Bowl has had only two owners in that time, lending to the establishment’s cozy, family-oriented environment – not to mention, the place’s decor and furniture (think pink high-back booths) have retained all the charm and innocence of a mid-century sweet shop. The list of delights is just about endless, and includes fresh fruit sherbets, old-fashioned shakes and malts, floats, parfaits and super fancy sundaes and splits. We’re a sucker for the Buster Brownie – a fresh-baked brownie topped with vanilla ice cream and gooey marshmallow.

The Sugar Bowl is located at 4005 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale  480.946.0051

Lee’s Cream Liqueur

Lee’s Cream Liqueur just celebrated its grand opening on July 30, but we’re already excited about this place. Owner and ice cream creator extraordinaire Lee Turner has clued us in what’s been missing from mainstream ice cream – alcohol. That’s right, serving up liqueur-laced ice cream, Lee’s nearly two dozen adults-only flavors include margarita (you saw this coming, right?), strawberry daiquiri, apple martini, kahlua and champagne, but also such traditional favorites as vanilla, mint, lemon drop, cheesecake, mango and others. For those 21 and younger, there are also non-liqueur flavors to choose from and all the usual toppings.

Lee’s Cream Liqueur is located at 7137 E. Stetson Drive, Suite  480.776.9899

Sweet Republic

Sweet Republic serves “artisan ice cream,” meaning all their ice cream is made in small batches in the store by hand, using all-natural ingredients. The milk and cream even come from Arizona dairy farms, and all the fruit and other ingredients are prepared and added by them in their own store. The result is an ultra-smooth, creamy and flavorful concoction each and every time. And living up to the “artisan” label, all the flavors here are either very creative or extremely well done – or both. Consider the salted butter caramel swirl, basil lime sorbet, cheese course duo (bleu cheese with Arizona dates), Belgian chocolate, cabernet pear sorbet, blueberry cinnamon sorbet and Mayan chocolate. Psst … they do cakes, too!

Sweet Republic is located at 9160 E. Shea Blvd., Suite 105, in Scottsdale  480.248.6979

Angel Sweet Gelato

People come from far and wide to experience the gelato at Angel Sweet in Chandler. The flavors are made fresh every day, using a large number of ingredients that, in fact, come straight from Italy, the holy land of gelato itself. Rich in flavor and dense, the stuff is 8 only to 11 percent fat (compared to ice cream, which is closer to 50 percent) and, we think, capable of packing more tastiness per spoonful, thanks to minimal air being whipped into it during the mixing process. Angel Sweet promises 24 flavors made fresh every day, served in a tiny but comfortable shop environment that makes for a cozy gelato experience.

Angel Sweet Gelato is located at 1900 W. Chandler Blvd., Suite 24, in Chandler  480.722.2541

MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain and Espresso Bar

Established in 1928, MacAlpine’s serves soups, burgers, sandwiches and coffee, but it’s the old-fashioned ice cream and floats they’re really famous for these days. The atmosphere and tokens of nostalgia present here are things just to see in their own right: old Coca-Cola and Pepsi signs, black-and-white checkered floors, old curved metal counter and stools, tall booths, wire chairs and plenty of early and mid-century memorabilia. Here you kind of expect The Fonze and a pair of girls with pinup-worthy hair and gingham dresses to walk through the doors at any moment. This is our No.1 place for splitting a vanilla or chocolate shake with a fun-loving date.

MacAlpine’s Soda Fountain is located at 2303 N. Seventh Street in Phoenix