The summer heat is coming, and when it does we’ll all need to cool down the old-fashioned way—with ice cream, popsicles, and blended drinks. Here, a selection of my favorite frozen treats.
1. High Point Creamery may have just opened on South Holly Street but it’s already making an impression with its ice cream flights (pictured). It’s a game of mix and match—you pick five flavors, five toppings, and one sauce. The shop churns 13 whimsical flavors a day but I currently favor my flight with basil-blackberry with candied orange peel; bananas with honey and waffle cone; blueberry and lemon with Amarone cherries; strawberry with chocolate shavings; and chocolate-orange-marshmallow with chocolate-covered espresso beans—all with chocolate fudge sauce, of course. 215 S. Holly St., 720-420-9137
2. Those in the know seek out Cloud 9 Frozen Custard on Eighth Avenue for a scoop of vanilla or chocolate frozen custard, or (my favorite) a Blizzard-style Polar Eclipse. The Eighth Avenue shop’s frozen custard is characteristically thick, rich, and creamy thanks to the addition of eggs to the ice cream base and less air in the final product. The treat originally hails from Coney Island but is largely considered a favorite in the Midwest. Tip: Check Cloud 9’s hours before you go. 4300 E. Eighth Ave., 303-322-4116
3. For that mid-day pick-me-up, head to Ink! Coffee for a blended chai, a magical arrangement of spicy chai, the shop’s secret white powder, milk, and ice. The final icy concoction is even better than a milk shake. There’s only one size, and it’s satisfyingly large. Multiple locations
4. The perpetual line inside (and sometimes outside of) Sweet Action Ice Cream is a clue as to how devout the Broadway shop’s fans are. Flavors range from Thai iced tea to dubbel peanut butter pretzel (and don’t forget salted butterscotch, a cult favorite). Cones and cups are always good, but for extra decadence I choose one of the ice cream sandwiches. The monster-size snicker doodles, chocolate-chip, or ginger cookies wrap a thick wedge of ice cream in a range of flavors. Tip: Let the treat soften for a couple minutes before eating. 52 Broadway, 303-282-4645
5. Watermelon mojito. Raspberry-sweet corn. Kiwi pomegranate. Plum cardamom. These are all flavors from the great minds behind Aiko Pops on South Pearl Street. The shop (which originally began as a roving popsicle cart) handcrafts icy treats that are organic, gluten-free, and mostly vegan. Buy one and eat it on the back patio—then buy more to take home. 1284 S. Pearl St., 303-996-6400
6. While categorized as a coffeeshop, Cafe Steep on Eighth Avenue deserves high praise for its dedication to tea. In addition to a strong selection of loose teas, the spot blends one of the most refreshing drinks in town: the sencha green smoothie. Jammed with spinach, parsley, cucumber, banana, orange juice, and sencha green tea, this smooth combination drinks like a meal. 4100 E. Eighth Ave., 303-321-0445