Shaved Ice Treats

Ten frozen concoctions to help you chill out

By Kate Ramos

Arctic Rush
Arctic Rush

Water Ice
Water Ice

In hot weather, we’re not always refreshed by custardy, milky ice cream. When the mercury starts climbing, a cup of shaved ice drenched in Day-Glo green syrup sounds less like a childhood cliché than a fine idea. Sweet, tart, and cold, these are the treats we crave.

1. Arctic Rush. Though this slushy drink has gone through a few name changes (first Mr. Misty, then Misty Slush), the semifrozen offering remains the same. Dairy Queen’s twist is to start not with ice, but with what it calls “slush ice” (that is, sugar and water placed in an ice cream freezer until slushy). Mix this with cloyingly sweet syrup, and you’ve got a brain freeze in a paper cup.

2. Granité. You say granita, we say granité. But, whatever you call it, it’s sophisticated yet simple. Instead of starting with ice, freeze fruit juice into icy shards. Try our Pineapple Granité or our Sour Cherry and Green Tea Granité for a refreshing dessert that’s, dare we say it, healthy.

3. Icee. Convenience store chains across the United States have tried to duplicate the infamous Icee: 7-Eleven has its Slurpee and QuikTrip has its Freezoni. But this carbonated slushy in flavors like Coca-Cola and Blue Raspberry is the original.

4. Snow Cone. This is a perennial favorite at Little League ballparks and county fairs everywhere. Hard, crunchy, grated ice is doused with moderate amounts of syrup, then served in a paper cone and eaten without utensils, like an ice cream cone.

5. Sno-Ball. Popular in the South, where it’s always sno-ball weather, this concoction looks like a snow cone but feels more like actual snow than hard ice chunks. It comes loaded with syrup in flavors like bubblegum, red velvet cake, and green apple, and is sometimes offered with sweetened condensed milk on top. Eat it with a straw or a spoon.

6. Hawaiian Shaved Ice. Although Hawaiians have popularized this dessert in the States, there are as many variations as there are countries in Asia. The Hawaiian version consists of layers of vanilla ice cream, adzuki beans, shaved ice, and syrup served in a cone. In Japan, sweetened condensed milk is used in place of the ice cream and adzuki beans. The Taiwanese add tiny balls of mochi, and Singaporeans top their shaved ice with canned sweet corn.

7. Italian Ice. More like sorbet than shaved ice, an Italian ice is made by freezing water with fruit purée or juice. Chowhounds in the New York area are particularly fond of the Lemon Ice King of Corona and Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices.

8. Water Ice. This legendary summertime cooler from Philadelphia is a type of Italian ice typically served at a higher temperature, which results in a softer, smoother consistency. Rita’s celebrates the first day of spring every year by handing out freebies, which leaves Philadelphians walking around with ghoulishly colored tongues.

9. Raspado. Sold all over Latin America, a raspado is a bowl of shaved ice—made by hand-cranking a large block of ice over a sharp blade—topped with traditional flavors such as sweetened milk with cinnamon, and lime with chili powder.

10. Freeze. Think of this frosty drink as a blended float. To make it, blend sherbet or ice with syrup and soda water or your favorite soft drink, then slurp away.

CHOW’s The Ten column appears every Tuesday.

Kate Ramos is the associate food editor at CHOW.

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