The Laurel Park
As we slug through one of the hottest summers in memory, Washingtonians have been seeking creative ways to have fun and cool down.
A clever and inventive antidote can be found at Art and Soul on Capital Hill, where the latest rage is their uplifting and invigorating Sno-Cone cocktails. Your childhood favorite is back, but with a decidedly adult twist.
Art and Soul, a welcoming lounge located in the Liaison Hotel, offers a menu of four icy cocktails designed by general manager Jay Poblador. These treats feature crushed ice layered with seasonal fruits and vegetables, mixed with liquor and served in cone-shaped glasses. The resulting tipples are light, stimulating and absolutely refreshing.
Jay, who recently moved to DC from New York, is experiencing his first Capital summer. “I didn’t realize it was so hot and humid here,” he said. “I designed these cocktails to be refreshing and appeal to your childlike primal urges.”
Bartender Heejin Shubbuck mixed up four frosty selections – the Laurel Park, the Rehoboth, the Savannah and the Washington Bite. Perhaps the most visually appealing is the Laurel Park, which arrives looking like a beautiful rainbow of ice and fruit including the pinkish hue of strawberries and cool green cucumbers. The layers are doused with gin and Saint Germaine elderflower liqueur before being topped off with rose sparkling wine.
Jay designed the Laurel Park to showcase a wide range of flavors including fruitiness, sweetness and bitterness. “All around it’s a nice flavor profile,” he said. “The flavor of St Germaine is so nuanced, and gin provides a perfect pairing .”
As I sipped my cocktail and the ice melted I noted how the flavor changed and evolved. When I reached the bottom of my glass, I enjoyed spearing the now frozen (and alcohol infused) fruits.
The Rehoboth Sno-Cone proved to be equally as complex. This treat is built from pineapple soaked with cachaca, a Brazilian sugar cane rum. It’s garnished with fresh spearmint for a rejuvenating effect. Jay rims the glass with a smoked sea salt rim, which enhances the subtle smoky flavor of the cachaca.
The Savannah, forged from fresh peaches, is the sweetest of the bunch. It starts with a full and luscious flavor, but finishes light and spicy thanks to vodka infused with African black nectar tea. “The tea imparts a bit of bitterness and nice tannins on the back of your tongue,” Jay says.
The final frozen concoction highlights the exotic flavor of Yuzu, a Japanese juice that tastes like a concentrated mixture of lemon, lime and orange. It imparts a tart flavor with no lingering aftertaste. It is rimmed with a cinnamon, sugar and cayenne for a sweet and spicy essence. These delightful coolers are a seasonal offering at Art and Soul, so hurry before the temperature drops. Sno-Cone cocktails are half price during happy hour- Monday –Thursday, 4-7 pm.
The Laurel Park
1.5 oz Hendricks Gin
.5 oz St Germaine
.25 oz Simple Syrup
Splash Sparkling Brut Rose
1 oz diced Strawberries
1 oz diced cucumbers
Shaved or Crushed Ice
Assemble a martini glass with layers of ice, cucumber, and strawberries, placing layers of ice in between the fruit for color contrast. Shake Gin, St Germaine and Simple Syrup. Pour over ice and fruit. Top off with sparkling rose.
Ingredients to make the Laurel Park may be purchased at Dixie Liquor in Georgetown. Readers may sample this cocktail at Art and Soul at 415 New Jersey Ave.