One of your favorite childhood fixtures has officially grown up: Snow cones are now appearing at restaurants, bars and food trucks--complete with local ingredients, artisanal syrups and the occasional splash of booze. Time to explore the next ice age!
Brabo Restaurant in Arlington, VA, serves up the kickin' Old Town Ginger snow cone, a refreshing blend of kaffir lime vodka, ginger beer syrup, mint liqueur and ice chunks, all of it topped with lime zest and chili flakes. braborestaurant.com
At the Imperial Woodpecker Sno-Balls shop in New Orleans, the specialty is made with light-as-air shaved ice (versus the ground kind you're used to) and crowned with house-made syrups such as watermelon-jalapeño and cardamom cream. iwsnoballs.com
Kauai's Uncle's Shave Ice serves up shave snow, a Hawaiian take on a Taiwanese treat that starts as a frozen block of water, milk and syrup (try the Asia-inspired lychee or dried plum), then gets shaved into creamy ribbons. uncleskauai.com
Sno con Amor at L.A.'s Hollywood Farmers' Market fancies up raspados (Mexico's answer to the snow cone, served in a cup) with handmade syrups. Two faves: lime-mint and grapefruit juice with vanilla bean. snoconamor.com
In true Bay Area style, Oakland's Skylite Snowballs makes nearly everything from scratch with local farm fare. The result? Seasonal syrups--from pluot to lemon-ginger--poured over crunchy ice and served from a truck. skylitesnowballs.com
By Jenna Scatena