Chefs' Favorite Heat Busters: Boozy Snow Cones, Sorbet Shots and Pineapple Shaved Ice

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Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

When those sweltering nights of midsummer hit, relaxing with a refreshing indulgence can offer much-needed respite from the humidity. As such, chefs and bartenders are on the frontlines when it comes to battling those blistering seasonal temperatures. We’ve got the scoop on the cooling treats they’re concocting (and consuming) at establishments across the country.

Frozen Boozy Treats

At two Chicago bars, the crowds can combat the soaring temperatures with adults-only riffs on nostalgic summertime treats.

The Sno Kone is the ultimate summer cocktail vehicle at Punch House on the bottom floor of Thalia Hall, where this innovative delivery method was created to inject additional excitement into a beloved warm-weather pastime. “Summertime drinking in Chicago is no joke. The greatest reward for a winter endured is that first summer cocktail,” explains William Duncan, director of hospitality and partner at Punch House. “At Punch House we’re always looking for a twist on service methods, hence the Sno Kone brainchild.” Any of the punch cocktails on the menu (such as the goa punch with feni, Limca, cumin tea and pineapple tincture) can be poured over the crushed ice that comes straight from an old-school carnival-style machine.

Quite a few frozen spiked options have been launched at the Fremont, including boozy push-pops. These concoctions are layered with individual shots of liquor-infused sorbet and come with a mini cocktail at the bottom. “We wanted to feature fresh fruit on the cocktail menu at Fremont in different, unique ways,” notes mixologist Andy Zolnierowicz. “The flavor combinations in a frozen drink series are endless.” The list rotates often, but be on the lookout for lemon-blueberry, blackberry gin and margarita.

An Icy Delight

When Chef Michael Armstrong of New York City’s Bodega Negra wants to cool off, he walks down the street to TAO Downtown to indulge in an icy treat. No ordinary ice cream will do for Armstrong, who opts for Taiwanese shaved ice instead. “Some nights I’ll head over and order the Buddha Snow Mountain,” he explains. “It’s pineapple and lime ice topped with mochi, fresh fruit and cocoa nibs. It’s huge, so even better to share!”

Fruit-Centric Quenchers

At New Hampshire’s L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates, chocolatier Michael Klug has stepped away from working with rich decadent chocolate to craft the confectioner’s newest collection of summer spritzers. “We just introduced iced cherry-vanilla and apricot-elderflower drinks at L.A. Burdick, which I am personally excited about,” he says. “Aside from being extremely refreshing, the flavors are the strongest they can be naturally, and unique to these kinds of drinks because of the technique.” To make the drinks, in-season fresh fruits (like California Bing cherries or French apricots) are slow-cooked to extract maximum flavor, then poured over ice to create a refreshing fruit-forward quencher.

Jon Christiansen, the bar manager at Ba Bar, Seattle’s hip Vietnamese restaurant and craft cocktail bar, creates a green juice-like drink (spiked with a bit of booze) that he guarantees will remedy a muggy day. Christiansen combines The Botanist Gin, fresh lime, fresh celery juice and simple gomme syrup to make the bright-green Mary Morter cocktail, which he garnishes with mint. “The grassy flavor of the celery lends a really amazing, surprising note to this cocktail,” says Christiansen. “Then the lime livens it all up!”

Photos courtesy of Punch House, Fremont, Battman, L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates and Geoffery Smith