Ice Cream: Frappes

The very best drinkable ice cream in the city.

Straw Poll

When it comes to ice-cream-to-mouth delivery, there are those who prefer the spoon, and those who champion the cone. There’s also a smaller—though no less passionate—third camp, who insist that nothing beats a straw. In their honor, we present our six favorite frappes in the city.

best ice cream frappes boston

Photograph by Kang Kim, Prop Styling by Lauren Evans, Styling by Karen Evans/Apostrophe

From left to right:

Dark Chocolate | L. A. Burdick
Back Bay

There’s technically no ice cream in this epicurean take on a frappe. Instead, the chocolatier freezes small bricks of its cult-favorite hot chocolate, then grinds them into shakes that go down like a cool, whipped-cream-topped chocolate truffle.

Bedrock Blitz Concrete | JM Curley
Downtown Crossing

The ultra-thick concoction’s ingredient list reads like the fantasy breakfast of a fifth grader: Richardson’s vanilla ice cream, Fruity Pebbles marshmallow “treats,” and potent orange-soda syrup. Disclaimer: This one requires a spoon.

Hydrox| Rancatore’s
Belmont

It’s this scoop shop’s most popular frappe, and for good reason—the heavy distribution of cookies in the Hydrox ice cream is what pushes it over the edge. If you’re a cookies-and-cream fanatic, this is a must.

Peanut Butter and Banana | Burger Dive
Somerville

What this burger joint lacks in ambiance—tall windows offer views of the Christmas Tree Shop parking lot—it makes up for with its frappes. Our favorite: a blend of Richardson’s vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, and fresh bananas.

Classic Vanilla | Lizzy’s
Harvard Square

How do you judge the greatness of a scoop-shop frappe? By the quality of the vanilla. In our taste test, Lizzy’s took home top marks for nailing the milk-to-ice-cream ratio and achieving a perfectly thick yet sippable consistency.

Espresso-Malt | Lumière
Newton

Michael Leviton’s fine-dining stalwart was once a Brigham’s, and the chef keeps the original frappe machine in the basement. Until summer, that is, when he breaks it out to create an elegant take on the frappe that’s loaded with espresso and malt.


The Buoyancy Equation

The ice cream float may be one of the simplest desserts, but it can also be one of the classiest—with the right base. Here, a few notable vanilla-friendly options.

best ice cream frappes boston

Illustration by Liz Noftle

From left to right:

Otto | Raspberry Lime Soda (Classic)
A sweet complement to ice cream: like a raspberry-lime rickey with a cotton-candy bouquet.

Maine Root | Ginger Beer (Classic)
Cloudy, incredibly spicy, and just a little sweet, it’s a complex foil to a simple scoop.

Tower | Root Beer (Classic)
The local legend is back in production, and it turns out to be the perfect base for an old-school root-beer float.

Mikkeller | Spontanframboos Lambic (Boozy)
Sour, with a strong raspberry flavor. The tartness cuts though the vanilla’s cloying sweetness.

Maine Beer Company | Mean Old Tom Stout (Boozy)
Lush and smooth, with strong vanilla notes that intensify when paired with ice cream.


Vocab Lesson

Ice cream beverage lingo can get confusing around here. Below, a guide for the next time you approach the counter.

Frappe
New England speak for “milkshake,” or a blend of ice cream, milk, and flavorings.

Ice Cream Soda
A swirl of soda water, ice cream, and flavored syrup.

Float
Soda (like Coca-Cola) topped with a scoop of ice cream.

Milkshake
Elsewhere, it’s synonymous with the frappe. Here, it’s cold milk frothed with flavored syrup.

Malt
A frappe with malted milk powder (barley malt, milk, and wheat).

Egg Cream
Fresh cream pulsed with soda water and flavored syrup.


Want more?

Check out our complete summer ice cream package.

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  • Louise M.

    More vocab: Another important word in any New Englander’s ice cream vocabulary is “cabinet”. Mass residents who dare to go south of the border (i.e. to RI) will find this furniture item on the menu. It’s a frappe.