Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Orleans Sno-balls & Sno-ball Cocktails

The Tradition: New Orleans Style Sno-balls
Not only are they not sno-cones, but they’re better

Robert and I went on a sno-ball date last week.  He got mint and I got king cake — yum!

Last week I experienced my first snow of the year. 

Yes, I live in Louisiana. Yes, it is April. And No, I am not talking about the weather. It's sno-ball season in the New Orleans area.

When the weather gets hot, sno-ball stands pop up around the Greater New Orleans Area and Baton Rouge. You northerners (or even Louisianans outside of New Orleans) might say, “I’ve had a sno-cone.” But, let me be clear, we’re not talking sno-cones.

Sno-cones are made from crushed ice.  Sno-balls are made from shaved ice, specifically made via a New Orleans SnoWizard machine that turns a block of ice into a velvety dessert.  The SnoWizard was invented in 1936, according to its website and the cold treats immediately garnered popularity in the hot city.  My Dad remembers there being a sno-ball stand on his elementary campus where kids could enjoy a frozen snack on the scorching cement playground.

A sno-ball has such a soft consistency that that can be paired with various crèmes. For example a stuffed sno-ball has an ice cream center or you can get it topped with condensed milk. You haven’t lived until you try a wedding cake or silverfox sno-ball topped with condensed milk, though you may die of a sugar coma.

There are a myriad of flavors from plain vanilla to Tigers Blood. And there are local favorites like King Cake, which I am still perplexed as to how it tastes so much like king cake.  Seasoned sno-ball masters like myself have learned a whole recipe book of flavors to mix and match.  And adults who have enjoyed the local treat since birth  know exactly what poisons to add to create cocktails that beat the heat. Some of my favorite remedies are below …

New Orleanians take regional pride in their patented ice doused in diabetes, I mean syrup.  All sno-ball stands advertise that they are bona fide New Orleans with the right equipment. We even wear jewelry shaped like the hot-weather favorite …

New Orleans jeweler Mignon Faget has an adorable line of sno-ball jewelry, photo from its website.

So just to be clear.  Just one last reminder. Sno-BALLS are not Sno-CONES. 

The Drink: Sno-Ball Cocktails
Kiddies aren’t the only ones who can cool down with sno-balls

“The Kiddie” 
A play on the ubiquitous sno-ball size system, these mixtures are safe for kids.

half pina colada + half ice cream = my favorite mix
root beer + ice cream = root beer float
mint + chocolate = thin mint cookie
strawberry + cheesecake = strawberry cheesecake (mix with wedding cake or cupcake instead for strawberry shortcake)
rainbow — it’s a little of everything but a childhood must.

“The Bucket”
No, I don’t condone indulging in this big gulp size. But here are some alcoholic recipes for us bucket-kicking, old-timers over 21.

strawberry sno-ball + rum = the faux-daiquiri
amaretto sno-ball + vodka = amaretto syrupy sweet
half mint sno-ball + half lime sno-ball + rum = mojito made from rocks
dreamsicle sno-ball + vodka =  frozen screwdriver
coffee sno-ball + condensed milk + vodka = shaved ice white russian

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