You can't actually get drunk on GelatoVino's gelati, but what their dense, creamy, custom-made flavors lack in intoxication, they make up for in flavor.
Owned by the prince of East Hollywood, George Abou-Daoud (Bowery, District, Mercantile, Tamarind Avenue Deli and more), GelatoVino opened in mid-September, seemingly to take advantage of the shoebox wedged between Mission Cantina and Delancey.
GelatoVino does serve wine, but its diminutive size, its gauche, purple velvet interior (did they hire Bobby Trendy to decorate?) and its lack of intimacy make it unappealing as wine bar. As an ice cream shop, it's perfect, complete with floor-to-ceiling doors that open directly onto Sunset Boulevard, so you can watch the denizens of Hollywood stumble past.
GelatoVino sells 30 flavors, including subtle but lovely pairings like Roasted Almond Fig and Butter Brown Sugar with Bacon. It's their half-dozen booze-infused varietals, however, that have received all the attention — and justifiably so. Though the alcohol burns off during production, their essence remains, in varying degrees of intensity.
My two favorites:
1. Zinfandel: Here, the combo of wine and dairy that sometimes tastes slightly rancid, works, thanks, in part, to the berry notes in the zinfandel and the proportioning.
2. Branca Menta: Sometimes, the worst spirit makes the best gelato. Branca Menta is the giggly, goofy cousin of Fernet-Branca, a bitter, herby, spirit of the amaro family. Barely sippable on its own, minty Branca Menta is mellowed via gelato.