Houston bar East End Hardware prepares a summer treat: drunken snow cones

Houston bar East End Hardware prepares a summer treat: drunken snow cones

In Houston’s East End, a no-frills bar has earned a reputation for offering a boozy version of a childhood treat: a snow cone.

East End Hardware is the place to go in the summer if you want an ice-cold alcoholic beverage, unlike other frozen cocktails in town. Their “boozy snoballs” are made with a SnoWizard machine that creates fluffy shaved ice originally from New Orleans. Snoballs come in seven flavors: Tiger’s Blood, Piña Colada, Strocone, The Dude, Jon Snocone, Screwdriver and Strawberry. And there are rotating flavors too, currently offering Mangonada.

Owner Laura Jordan came up with the idea for Drunken Snoballs even before opening the former hardware store as a bar in 2017. She grew up in the Clear Lake area of ​​southeast Houston, where she had plenty of snow cone treats.

“I had never seen alcohol snow cones before and I didn’t know why no one else had made them, so we started and have been making them ever since,” Jordan said.

At first I didn’t know if it was possible to put alcohol on shaved ice without it melting. He even discussed this concern with SnoWizard, but they didn’t know about it either. It was all a great experiment.

Jordan discovered that if he pre-made the syrups with alcohol and kept them cold, the ice would maintain its integrity when he poured the syrup. She created most of the syrups with real fruits and juices. Initially, a friend who had worked at a shaved ice stand in Hawaii helped her formulate the syrups. Although some, like Tiger’s Blood and Piña Colada, are made with traditional concentrates sold for those snow cones.

Sometimes she invents new flavors herself. Last year during March Madness, she held her own Sweet 16 competition between new flavors of snoball. The winning flavor: Mangonada, followed by Vietnamese iced coffee.

The snoballs are kind of an East End Hardware gimmick, he said.

When a customer places an order, they can see the freshly shaved ice in front of them, the syrup flavors added in three layers, and finally, an umbrella tops it off. Eat it with a spoon or sip it, but the alcohol, whether gin as in the blackberry-lemon Jon Snocone or rum in the fruity Strocone, comes through immediately.

“The first day it’s hot, that’s what everyone comes for,” Jordan said. She noted that the bar offers snoballs year-round, including a mint flavor during the Christmas holidays.