Though increasingly rare, it’s always exciting during the summer to come across an old-fashioned push cart making granizados, the shaved ice cones drenched in an array of bottled syrups in supernatural colors. It’s hard to match the evenly textured, disappearing flakes that street vendors can pull from a single block of ice in a rickety cart on a sweltering corner. But granizados can be made at home, with any combination of pureed fruits and juices: spiced, spiked and sweetened to taste just like an Italian granita.
Instead of breaking up chunks of ice or burning out a blender, the flavored liquid is set to chill in a shallow baking pan then broken up as the ice crystals form; it is redistributed until the mixture is uniformly slushy and all around refreshing. This weekend I tried a few variations but my favorite was a combination of mango and passion fruit, sweet and sour with a brush of mint for a last bite of cold. If you’d rather leave the serious shaving to professionals, American snow cones, Mexican raspados, Puerto Rican piraguas, and even Korean patbingsu can be sought out, but you’ll miss the fun of coming up with your own favorite flavors and textures.