this thing's incredible

I Am Going to Convince You to Buy a Thermos for Your Ice Cream

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

Traditionally, the New York City ice-cream eater must make do with whatever brand her bodega has in stock. But I believe summer is too short to settle for freezer-burned Jimmy Fallon, and I am prepared to travel farther afield to locate my preferred pint.

Because I’m doing this on foot or at the mercy of the MTA’s inconsistent air-conditioning, I keep my purchase cool in a bespoke thermos from S’well. It’s constructed with the same vacuum-sealed lid the water-bottle brand is known for but shaped to fit a classic cardboard ice-cream container. You just plop in the pint and go.

A standard ice-cream pint fits perfectly into the thermos. Photo: Photo: Katherine Gillespie

S’well makes no particular claim about how long ice cream will stay frozen in one of these. As with any thermos, it won’t actively make what’s inside any colder, but it will maintain its temperature for several hours. To give you an idea of its capabilities, I purchased a pint of Corn to Run from a friendly teen at the beleaguered Prospect Heights Ample Hills location, then walked some 30 minutes back to my apartment in 86-degree heat. The ice cream remained at perfect scoop-shop consistency: neither rock-hard nor melted.

The thermos can cross boroughs and state lines. I’ve successfully couriered a Caffè Panna pint from Manhattan to Brooklyn, running several non-air-conditioned errands along the way. One Amazon reviewer claims to have flown ten hours with a carton of Blue Bell’s Rocky Road encased in her thermos. I would love to be friends with her.

Such an item offers endless dessert-on-the-go possibilities: bringing apple pie and ice cream to a potluck dinner, sharing sorbet with friends in the park, or even enjoying it while reclining at the beach. Transparently, I prefer to eat the good stuff at home within full blast of a window AC unit while clinking teaspoons and competing for cookie chunks with a lover.

Realizing that no one should make this purchase without a guarantee that their ice cream of choice will fit inside, I conducted a full supermarket freezer-section compatibility test. Talenti fans are out of luck: Because the brand’s fancy reusable containers don’t taper toward the bottom, they won’t slot inside. Their flavor spectrum is a little unimaginative anyway.

All of the other 12 brands I tried, from Halo Top to Häagen-Dazs, fit snugly. No issue with Heritage Kulfi, Oatly, or Van Leeuwen. Of course, it keeps Jimmy in prime condition too.

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Let Me Convince You to Buy a Thermos for Your Ice Cream