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After several years of mild winters, Washingtonians ought to have greeted January’s smattering of snowfall with open arms and tongues sticking out toward the sky. But next time, they may want to break out the tumblers. While we can’t vouch for the sanitation of D.C. snow, we bet it works in a cocktail. We asked four local bartenders to share recipes you can use the next time D.C. gets a fresh coat of powder.
Kentucky Snow Cone
Hank’s Oyster Bar on the Hill serves this $12 cocktail with crushed ice, but mixologist Gina Chersevani says you could easily substitute snow. That’s how she made it during 2010’s massive Snowpocalypse.
1. Gently muddle some mint leaves at the bottom of the glass.
2. Pour in 1 ounce of simple syrup.
3. Fill the glass with snow (or crushed ice).
4. Add in 1 ounces of Willett Bourbon.
5. Fill the rest of the glass with Champagne. Chersevani pours it down a swizzle stick.
6. Garnish with mint and serve.
Gun to a Snowball Fight
¾ ounces Hendricks gin
¾ ounces Maraschino liqueur
¾ ounces Green Chartreuse
¾ ounces lime juice
1 slice English cucumber
2 grounds of Sichuan peppercorn in a pepper mill
BLT Steak’s Steve Oshana named this drink after the 2009 incident in which a cop in plainclothes pulled a gun during a snowball fight on U Street NW. The variation of the Prohibition-era cocktail Last Word features a dash of Sichuan pepper, known for its numbing effect—kind of like a cold snowball to the face.
2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
1 ounce vanilla-cinnamon syrup
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1–2 ounces hot maple syrup mix
For the vanilla-cinnamon syrup: Simmer a half-cup of sugar and one and a half cups of water with one cinnamon stick for 10 minutes in a small pot. Remove from heat and strain out the solids. When the syrup has cooled, stir in one ounce of vanilla extract.
For the hot maple syrup: Boil eight ounces of maple syrup with two ounces of unsalted butter for six to seven minutes. The mixture should reach around 230 degrees. Let cool for two minutes before drizzling it over the cocktail.
Mixing hot and cold, this drink from Zentan’s Josh Berner requires two homemade syrups: vanilla-cinnamon and hot maple. To prepare the drink, combine the vanilla-cinnamon syrup with bourbon and lemon in a large ceramic mug or coffee cup. Top it with enough lightly packed snow that you have a mound at least an inch above the rim. Drizzle hot maple syrup mix on top.
2 ounces of bourbon
½ ounce of simple syrup
12 mint leaves, muddled—plus extra for garnish
Range’s Owen Thomson has actually made this classic drink with snow before. “It’s just like a big slushie,” he says. He alternately suggests a play on “yellow snow” with Yellow Chartreuse poured atop your snow.
Photos by Jessica Sidman