How to make an alcoholic snow cone

Is there anything better than an icy snow cone on a hot summer day? Yes there is. It’s a snow cone with booze, of course, put together like a pro and ready to take on the last days of summer.

If your vision for a spiked snow cone is simply topping the treat with vodka or gin, more power to you. It’s effective and in most cases probably even tastes great. A frozen cocktail? An ice-cold Piña Colada and Margarita are good options, but don’t quite tick the playful, nostalgic boxes of a real snow cone, let alone the precise texture of the ice cream. Luckily, we’re here to up your drinking game, so we spoke with a pro on the subject.

Tips for an alcoholic snow cone

Enter Paige McGroarty. She runs the prestigious Fed beverage program at the Langham in Boston. For now, the lineup is decidedly refreshing, built around some cool late-summer refreshments. She was kind enough to offer a drizzled snow cone recipe, below, for you to enjoy at home. It is served at the bar and one of the most popular drinks on the list. But before getting ahead of ourselves, it helps to know what we’re doing.


The key here is ice cream. You want that cold, crisp, snow-like snow cone texture. The easiest way to do this is to use the snow cone machine. It can be done in a food processor and even a blender. Take it easy. Add no more than two cups of ice cream at a time and mix until no lumps remain. It might not be quite like shaved ice (how do they do that, anyway?), but it will be close.


The next thing you’ll want to pay attention to is softness. It pays to keep compound sugar, so consider your ratios when it comes to simple sugar, agave, etc. You add ingredients to the ice, which will melt and dilute the drink as you sip it. Increase the sugar content when using more counter flavors like citrus or when it is particularly hot and dilution will occur that much more quickly.


Finally, there is the look. A classic snow cone is spherical in nature, often featuring bright colors. You can shape your own with a makeshift mold, like an upside-down coffee mug or even an ice cream scoop, if it’s big enough. For bright colors, consider adding food coloring or something naturally eye-catching like grape juice, pomegranate juice, or any syrup. You can also opt for a flavored vodka with a lot of heat, according to the second recipe below. Naturally, cheese fillings are encouraged.

Either way, you’re going to end up with something cold and delicious, and it’s the best medicine for the last heat wave or two of the season.

The noise cone

This alcoholic delight combines vodka, watermelon, and rhubarb for a lovely pink treat you’ll want to make again and again. The name is borrowed from the 60s spy sitcom get smart.

The Cone of Noise alcoholic snow cone cocktail.


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


  1. Mix the ingredients in a shaker.
  2. Shave the ice in the snow cone machine.
  3. Put crushed ice in a paper cone.
  4. Pour the mixed ingredients over crushed ice.
  5. Top with your favorite fruits on a fun skewer or pick.

tiger blood

Here’s another option, using a flavored vodka that was designed to taste like your favorite snow cones growing up. It blends flavors of watermelon, raspberry and coconut with a bit of citrus. If you want to add a little color fade, keep adding the colored vodka until the very end.


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


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until muddy.
  2. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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About Irene J. O'Donnell

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