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This Sno-Ball Cocktail Is a Much-Needed Hit of Summer in Wintertime

Photography by Tom Arena

“At Yacht Club, we have a major love affair with wine of all sorts,” says McLain Hedges, coowner of the playful Denver bar. “Many, if not all, of our drinks contain some form of wine base to them.”

That includes a rotating list of shaved-ice sno-balls enlivened with fortified wine—a whimsical mash-up of the classic Cobbler, a fortified wine standard served over crushed ice and the nostalgic sno-cone. Iterations have included raisin-y PX Sherry and bittersweet amer liqueur. This version centers Macvin du Jura, a blend of grape juice and must fortified with marc (distilled from grape skins and lees—akin to grappa) from Jura, then barrel-aged for at least 14 months, with a final flavor some liken to brandy.

“The result is one of the most aromatic and textural experiences you’ll come across,” Hedges says. “It’s truly something special.” Combining it with salted honey syrup and lemon lets the Macvin shine, highlighting its “delicate honey and high-toned floral notes.” He urges people to give often-overlooked Macvin a try:

“There is a vast world of fortifieds, mistelles and vins doux naturels that are at our fingertips but don’t quite get the attention they deserve!”

This article originally appeared in the February/March 2023 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

Macvin Du Jura Sno-Ball

Ingredients
2 ½ ounces Macvin du Jura (Ganevat, Labet, François Rousset-Martin and Montbourgeau are some of Hedge’s favorites)
½ ounce salted honey syrup*
¼ ounce lemon juice Lemon zest or a drizzle of honey (or both), to garnish

Directions

Add all ingredients to your glass of choice, then fill it halfway with shaved or finely crushed ice. Gently tap the glass on the counter to settle the ice in the glass. Scoop in more shaved or crushed ice until the glass is filled to over – flowing. Compact slightly to form a loose dome (you know, like a snowball). Garnish with lemon zest or a drizzle of honey (or why not both?) and serve with a straw.

*How to Make Salted Honey Syrup

In a saucepan, combine 1 cup each honey and hot water with ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and cool to room temperature.