New York City, NY

The Iconic Cones and Craftsmanship of BGIC

J.M. Lesinski

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After the closure of their original location earlier this year, the dynamic spirit of Big Gay Ice Cream (BGIC) has continued to power through the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in the New York City area. The attention to detail is what truly makes Big Gay Ice Cream amazing, with four local shops still serving up their unique creations. The commitment to perfecting the core flavors of chocolate and vanilla above all else, and creativity in the use of ingredients that goes into the signature cones is really something to marvel at.

The Salty Pimp is the ice cream cone that put Big Gay Ice Cream on the map. The simple vanilla cone is injected with sweet dulce de leche for a flavor burst unique all its own. The sweet with a hint of cinnamon wave that washes over the cone from the injection is a subtle blend of creamy goodness. The Salty Pimp is then finished off with a chocolate shell dip, creating a slightly crunchy outer texture. The chocolate shell fusing with the dulce de leche creaminess creates some of the smoothest feel of any ice cream dessert one can eat.

The American Globs cone is equal parts innovative as it is delicious. The ice cream used is vanilla with pretzel bits crushed and combined into the soft serve as it dispenses. This unique harmony of the two core ingredients creates the signature “glob” appearance of the ice cream. The chocolate dip is the finishing touch to the American Globs, creating a nutty texture for the chunks of pretzel, and the overall chunky, bumpy mounds beneath the quick sealing action of the dip. Dips add a sort of structural integrity to ice cream cones in that manner, which is especially necessary for a cone so oblong and bubbly as American Globs.

The Dorothy features some of the most intuitive use of the ingredients that make it up. With vanilla ice cream as the base and a standard cone supporting the treat, the cone is then injected with dulce de leche, much like the iconic Salty Pimp cone as well. The final step, rolling the cone in ground up Nilla brand wafer cookies, completes the dusted finish on the striking final product. The dusted effect really creates a unique look for the cone, more than mere sprinkles or drizzle. There is a grainy sparkle to the cone on whole that makes the ice cream look that much more enticing.

The Strawberry Shortcake utilizes the Nilla wafer cookies as well, taking on a sundae form in this unique Big Gay Ice Cream creation. Made with vanilla ice cream, the sundae features homemade strawberry sauce at the base and around the crest of the cone, where the decadent ooze meets the crisp tip of the crumbled Nilla wafer cookies. There, the ice cream is surrounded by whipped cream, leaving the top of the ice cream mountain exposed for a visual journey into the treat. The sweetness of the strawberry sauce is perfection when combined with the gentle touch of the whipped cream.

The Rocky Roadhouse is another creation like that of American Globs. The sheer mass of the cone demands it be served in a tray, while the bumpy outer texture not only does the name justice but looks almost fluffy like a candy bar for visual appeal. The chocolate ice cream cone is rolled in Big Gay Ice Cream’s special topping for the cone, a blend of miniature marshmallows, toasted almonds, and chocolate bits. The adhesion and unity of the ingredients is really something to behold in person. The marshmallow components especially have a certain glow to them.

The Monday Sundae again utilizes ingredients where one would not expect in the unique waffle cone dish. The waffle cone is lined with Nutella spread, before being filled with twisted vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Like the dulce de leche injection, the Nutella filling is instantly the first thing one notices when biting in. Speaking of, the Monday Sundae is also topped with dulce de leche, as well as whipped cream and sea salt for the perfect touch.

Another crowd favorite, the Mermaid, has a composition similar to the Strawberry Shortcake. The sundae features vanilla ice cream layered with Key lime curd, pie crust crumble, and whipped cream on top for a take on the classic Key Lime Pie. The tip of the ice cream comes out of the whipped cream, like that of a mermaid tail coming out of the ocean, coated in crumble and curd atop the crest. The cute design and citrus tart flavor are a combination made in heaven.

An ode to old school sundae shoppes, the Rufus is one sundae every diner needs to try. With choice of chocolate or vanilla, hot fudge or Awesomesauce (a sweet syrupy mystery concoction unique to Big Gay Ice Cream), and optional crushed peanuts before mandatory whipped cream, the creative process gets handed off to the diner, while simultaneously utilizing all the classic components of a traditional fifties-era sundae.

Floats at Big Gay Ice Cream come in choice of ice cream flavor, eschewing the more traditional vanilla only float model. The combination of Big Gay Ice Cream’s chocolate ice cream with Mexican, real sugar Coca-Cola breaks open this flavor pallet of caramel and chocolate that is simply incredible. The same can be said for the Sprecher’s Root Beer, which brings out the birchy, sweetness of the soda even more. The Mexican Orange Fanta float is one of the best creamsicle desserts I have personally ever had. The combination of biting orange and Big Gay Ice Cream’s perfectly crafted vanilla is to die for.

Milkshakes are a great way to experience Big Gay Ice Cream sans-cone, and offer more flavor options for pickier diners. Options include classic vanilla, chocolate, Black and White, Oreo, strawberry, Nutella, coffee, mocha or latte, Tang Creamsicle, chai, chocolate and peanut butter, and weekly specials based on rotating guest flavors. Ice cream sandwiches are also available, and completely customizable too. Called Truckers, the sandwich treat is based with two chocolate wafer cookies and the rest is up to the diner.

Last but certainly not least, paletas offer a non-dairy option to visitors. The pops are made by La Newyorkina and flavors change frequently, though the Rainbow Paleta is always available, made up of five different fruit flavors stacked vertically. Each layer cracks open a new flavor, making the demolition process even more enticing.

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY
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