Rocket Science is a unique ice cream shop that uses liquid nitrogen as their special ingredient. This shop is located at 401 East Market St. in Nappanee, in the Coppes Commons, just 16 miles from Goshen College.Rocket Science was voted one of the top 10 ice cream shops in the state earlier this year. Two Goshen ice cream makers, The Chief and South Side Soda Shop, also appeared among the top 10 at visitindiana.com, but only Rocket Science applies liquid nitrogen.
How exactly is this ice cream made?
The first ingredient is important because the milk and sugar have a 14 percent fat base, making it thicker than most bases. Once that is added in a tin bowl, the toppings are added and well mixed, and then the liquid nitrogen is released into the bowl, freezing everything together to make the ice cream.
Although Dan Smith, professor of chemistry, has not visited Rocket Science, he had some input.
“Liquid nitrogen is very cold, at -196 degrees Celsius, so it freezes very quickly,” said Smith.
Once it is frozen, the bowl is placed on top of another bowl containing warm water to separate the ice cream from the bowl to scoop into the cup.
Originally, Rocket Science started in 2009 as a small concession stand trailer. Steven Slabaugh bought the first and only Rocket Science location and is currently the manager as well.
Slabaugh opened up in Coppes Commons in 2011. The ice cream shop shares the building with four other businesses. This company is not currently not a franchise, and will not be any time soon, Slabaugh said, making this the only location.
There are a variety of customers that visit this shop, including people from the community as well as tourists. There are customers from Goshen, Nappanee, Kokomo and even Fort Wayne. Slabaugh mentioned one regular who travels three and a half hours on some Saturdays for Rocket Science ice cream.
To be able to get the ultimate liquid nitrogen ice cream experience, it is best to eat it as soon as it is done. The ice cream can be taken home and stored, but it will not have the same texture. If it is stored in a freezer at home, it won’t be as cold as it usually is.
Rocket Science has 24 signature creations you can choose from, or you can create your own by selecting from 18 syrups, nine fruits, four type of nuts and 15 toppings. There are three sizes for both signature and create-your-own ice cream dishes: a kid size, regular and large.
For the signature creations, the kid size costs $3.60, regular is $4.68 and large is $5.71. To create your own, the kid size is $3.25, regular is $4.32 and the large is $5.30. All of these sizes include one item, and each additional topping is 40 cents each.
The top three popular signature creations are Death by Chocolate, Peanut Butter Bash and Turtle. Death by Chocolate includes a chocolate base, fudge, chocolate chips and brownie dough. Peanut Butter Bash is made up of a peanut butter base, a peanut butter cup and fudge. The third, Turtle ice cream, has fudge, caramel and pecans.
Rocket Science gets new customers by word-of-mouth. No further advertising has been done since they opened, but they do have a Facebook page.