When it comes down to it, there really are no bad ice cream sauces. Well at least not if they are homemade. But once in a while a really amazing sauce comes along, and your taste buds go into overdrive. That’s what happened when I played with a basic caramel sauce recipe to serve with vanilla ice cream for the pre-concert JazzVox meal I served last weekend featuring Caribbean food. I knew that plain rum, both dark and light, were essential to Caribbean cuisine. But I like spice rum for desserts, so I used a combination of rums plus a bit of cinnamon to enhance the spice flavor. What I turned out was pretty darn good if I say so myself. Which of course I am saying. (Believe me, when I try new recipes and they are not worthy of your discerning palate, the paper they are printed on goes straight to the circular file and the “delete” button gets pushed sending the word document to “who knows where or cares”!)  

This recipe however, should find you running to your local emporium for all the ingredients you don’t already own and the largest container of really good vanilla ice cream you can carry. It is just that delicious and so different from other ice cream sauces. I also made a Kahlua Ice Cream Sauce (next recipe to be posted) that turned out great, but it’s more of a standard ice cream sauce. But it’s equally delicious, if you happen to like chocolate and Kahlua that is!               

And just because I care so much about all of you, I’ve included a couple other really delicious ice cream sauces for your edification – Spiced Rum Sauce and Bourbon Caramel Sauce. Both too are easy to prepare, economical, and far above any product sold on the market. (OK, there are some really good ice cream sauces available commercially. But they are really expensive, and you don’t get that happy feeling of a job well done when someone else builds a product you know you can do better, or at least equally as well.)

So enjoy the recipes and have fun with them. Believe me, there is nothing like this sauce out there. But beware. Once you have served this to family and friends, there will be no going back. If I weren’t so lazy, I would start a business selling this to local stores. But doing such a bizarre thing at my age a) sounds like way too much work, b) sounds like way too much of a monetary investment, and c) sounds like way too much work! So if you want rum-raisin sauce for your ice cream, you’re just going to have to make it yourself! At least now you have a recipe! Enjoy

  • ½ c. dark rum
  • ½ c. spice rum
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ c. golden raisins
  • ¼ c. dark raisins
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • ¼ lb. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • pinch salt

Pour the rum into a bowl. Add the cinnamon and raisins, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Just before making the sauce, drain the raisins reserving both the liquid and the raisins.

Whisk the brown sugar, butter, and salt together in a heavy sauce pan until the butter is melted and the mixture starts to go a darker color and develops big frothy bubbles. Usually takes 4-6 minutes.  

Remove from heat and gently pour in the reserved rum. Whisk for about 2 minutes and return the pan to the stove. (The alcohol should have all dissipated by now.) Stir or whisk continuously over low heat about 10 minutes while the mixture gently simmers to a slightly thicker consistency. (The sauce should display tiny bubbles on the surface the entire time the sauce is cooking.) Remove from heat and stir in the raisins.  Serve warm over vanilla ice cream, apple pie, bread pudding, gingerbread, crêpes, pound cake, pumpkin pie, or any other dessert item that takes your fancy. It would also be wonderful served over baked ham or pork tenderloin. And don’t get me started on what this sauce would add to a simple baked sweet potato!

Note: This is a very potent sauce. Use sparingly.


  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • ½ c. unsalted butter
  • ½ c. heavy cream
  • 2 T. spiced rum
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon

Combine brown sugar and butter in a medium sized heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until butter completely melted and mixture is smooth. Add heavy cream, spiced rum, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and is reduced to about 1½ cups. Serve warm. Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Bring to a simmer again before serving or gently warm in your microwave.


  • ¼ c. unsalted butter
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. heavy cream
  • 2 T. good bourbon
  • pinch freshly ground nutmeg, opt.

Whisk butter and brown sugar together over medium heat in a small heavy saucepan until brown sugar is dissolved completely. (This happens after the mixture comes to a boil and is allowed to burble for a couple of minutes or until it turns kind of shiny.) Continue whisking the whole time the mixture is on the heat. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the heavy cream, bourbon, and ground nutmeg. Serve warm, or allow to come to room temperature and refrigerate.






Please let me know if you like this recipe. Thanks