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A leading Boston mixologist gave us the perfect boozy snow cone recipe

What's better than a snow cone? A boozy snow cone, of course

Is there anything better than an ice-cold snow cone on a hot summer’s day? Yes, there is. It’s a snow cone with booze, of course, assembled like a pro and ready to take on the waning days of summer.

If your vision of a spiked snow cone involves simply topping the treat with some vodka or gin, more power to you. It’s effective and in most cases, probably even tastes pretty good. A frozen cocktail? A Piña Colada and frozen Margarita are fine options but don’t quite check the playful and nostalgia boxes that a real snow cone does, let alone the precise texture of the ice. Fortunately, we’re here to elevate your drinks game, so we chatted up a professional on the subject.

A lineup of frozen drinks.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tips for an alcoholic snow cone

Enter Paige McGroarty. She runs the esteemed drinks program at The Fed at the Langham in Boston. At the moment, the lineup is decidedly refreshing, built around some chilly, end-of-summer refreshers. She was nice enough to offer a boozy snow cone recipe, below, for you to enjoy at home. It’s served at the bar and one of the most popular drinks on the list. But before we get ahead of ourselves, it pays to know what we’re doing.

The ice

The key here is ice. You want that snow cone texture, cold, crunchy, and snow-like. The easiest way to achieve that is by way of the snow cone machine. It can be done in a food processor and even a blender. Just go slow. Add no more than two cups of ice at a time and blend until there are no lumps remaining. It might not quite be like shave ice (how do they do that, anyway?), but it’ll be close.

The sweetness

The next thing you’ll want to pay attention to is sweetness. It pays to keep the sugar dialed in, so consider your ratios when it comes to simple sugar, agave, etc. You’re adding ingredients to ice, which will melt and dilute the drink as you sip. Up the sugar content when you’re using more counter flavors like citrus or when it’s especially hot and dilution will occur all the faster.

The aesthetic

Lastly, there’s the look. A classic snow cone is spherical in nature, often boasting bright colors. You can shape your own with a makeshift mold, like an inverted coffee cup or even an ice cream scooper, if large enough. For vibrant colors, consider adding food coloring or something naturally eye-catching like grape juice, pomegranate juice, or any number of syrups. You can also opt for a flavored vodka with plenty of pizazz, per the second recipe below. Naturally, cheesy garnishes are encouraged.

No matter what, you’re going to end up with something cold and delicious, and that’s the best medicine for the last heat wave or two of the season.

The cone of noise

This boozy delight combines vodka, watermelon, and rhubarb for a beautiful pink treat that you’ll want to make over and over again. The name is borrowed from the 60s spy sitcom Get Smart.

The Cone of Noise boozy snow cone cocktail.
Image used with permission by copyright holder


  • 1 1/2 parts watermelon rhubarb cordial
  • 1 part Reyka Vodka
  • Ice
  • Fruit skewer (or flamingo) for garnish


  1. Mix ingredients in shaker.
  2. Shave ice in snow cone machine.
  3. Scoop shaved ice into paper cone.
  4. Pour mixed ingredients over shaved ice.
  5. Garnish with your favorite fruit on a skewer or fun pick.

Tiger’s Blood

Here’s another option, utilizing a flavored vodka that was engineered to taste like your favorite snow cones growing up. It blends watermelon, raspberry, and coconut flavors with a bit of citrus. If you want to add a bit of a color fade, save the addition of the colorful vodka until the very end.


  • 2 ounces 1220 Spirits Tigers Blood Vodka
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce lime ice
  • Ice


  1. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until slushy.
  2. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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