I am having a dinner / make-fancy-cocktails party, and trying to work out the menu. Since it's a cocktail party, having some sort of alcohol in the dessert seems appropriate.

The difficulty is, for the designated driver, we need to have a non-alcoholic version. So a recipe where you only add the alcohol at the last step would be ideal. Unfortunately, my attempts to find such a thing is only turning up recipes where it can be omitted entirely, as opposed to not added to certain serves.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • What kind of desserts have you looked at so far? Have you considered making rum balls and non-alcoholic truffles? That's the only thing that instantly pops into my mind.
    – lemontwist
    Jan 19, 2013 at 12:21
  • 1
    If you want to keep it simple, how about a couple le colonel? Basically a very simple vodka sherbet with lemon ice-cream and whipped cream, popular in France. If you make (or buy) good lemon ice-cream, it will be fine without vodka (obviously). allrecipes.fr/recette/6931/…
    – Cerberus
    Jan 19, 2013 at 21:29
  • oooh, haven't had that in ages. very theme-y if served in a martini glass
    – Pat Sommer
    Jan 20, 2013 at 4:42
  • Are you sure you need a non-alcoholic version for the driver? The amount of alcohol in a dessert shouldn't be affecting the ability to drive.
    – Mien
    Jan 20, 2013 at 14:00
  • @Mien: Inexperienced drivers in Australia have a zero alcohol limit.
    – Margaret
    Jan 20, 2013 at 23:32

3 Answers 3


The only dessert I can think of where alcohol would be truly done on a portion by portion basis would be the type of ice cream parfait we used to serve at a restaurant I worked at in my long ago youth: it was essentially vanilla ice cream layered in a parfait glass with a sweet liqueur such has au de noisette or Framboise--the possibilities are endless. You will note this is essentially a minimalist adult sundae, so you could easily have one made with plain caramel sauce or chocolate sauce for the designated driver.

Still, if the issue is a designated driver, rather than a recovering alcoholic who can have no alcohol whatsoever, I wouldn't worry overmuch. Many desserts which contain alcohol have very little per serving, and should not be an issue for the driver. Some of these are spectacular show pieces. Some you might consider are:

  • Bananas Foster
  • Crepes Suzette
  • Rum cake
  • Truffles (as lemontwist mentioned in their comment answer)
  • Trifle

Another option would be any number of rich coffee based drinks, where you could omit the liquor for the designated driver's portion. Not truly a dessert, but in line with your theme.

Lastly, I don't think a party of any sort, even a cocktail party, requires desserts with alcohol in them. Be free. Serve what you like. Serve no dessert at all if you like.

  • 2
    Going one step farther, there are lots of desserts where the alcohol is just in the sauce (not just that particular "adult sundae"), so you could just save a bit of the sauce before stirring in the booze.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 19, 2013 at 15:56

Crepe suzette?

Then crepes and ice cream, or chocolate sauce, is good for the drivers. As a side note, the amount of alcohol in most deserts would be well below the limit for driving in most regions.


Flambeed crepes is one option (grand marnier (for an orange taste), calvaldos (with apples), cognac, or similar).

Creme brulée can also be very spectacular, if you already have a hard sugar crust, you can use something quite high proof, like everclear (flavorless) and extra sugar, and then set it on fire right in front of your guests. I recommend practicing first so you can get maximum effect.

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