Child with Sno-Ball
A young customer with a green apple sno-ball at Tee Eva’s Pralines and Pies in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Sara Roahen.

Rosie Schaap gets the award for Best Lede in a Cocktail Story, for an article called “The Cool Side of Campy Frozen Drinks” that will be published in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine (it’s online today):

The frozen daiquiri, the piña colada, the frozen margarita: these drinks remind me of a certain kind of great-aunt — the one who has worn the same coral lipstick since 1959, the one whose laughter is like a wheezy rush of air, the one in the paisley caftan who had an affair with a famous bandleader back in the day. Some relatives might have cringed at the very thought of her. Others, like me, wanted to hang out with her all the time — and maybe even grow up to be her.

We think she’s on to something. Check out Schaap’s article, which includes recipes for three slushy adult concoctions: a blackberry Margarita, a banana daiquiri, and the classic piña colada.

The large sno-ball is packed in a take-out carton at Williams Plum Street Sno-Balls in New Orleans. Photo by Sara Roahen
The large sno-ball is packed in a take-out carton at Williams Plum Street Sno-Balls in New Orleans. Photo by Sara Roahen

Now, here’s some more good news: You don’t have to be a boozehound to enjoy a similarly delicious, icy treat. Enter the sno-ball and its cousins, the shaved ice and the snow cone.

This sweet, syrupy delight reaches its apotheosis in New Orleans, where it’s strictly referred to as a sno-ball (we’ve warned you: DON’T say “snow cone”!), shaved to order, and topped with homemade syrups in fruity or cream flavors. We’ve got an entire oral history project dedicated to New Orleans Sno-Balls, from the fresh-squeezed juice blends at Beaucoup Juice to the beauties topped with crumbled praline at Tee Eva’s Pralines and Pies. If you can’t get a sno-ball in your town, you can dream about these.

Does the sno-ball count as a drink, per se? Okay, maybe not. And for the first few bites, you can enjoy it with a spoon. But on a hot day in New Orleans—or practically anywhere in the South during the summer—it won’t be long before the straw comes in handy.