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Who Needs Fancy Cocktail Ice When You Have Hail

Hailstones: the latest innovation in American drinks


It's time to toss those silly spherical ice molds. Photographer (and inventive home bartender) Mary Anne Andrei and her husband, author Ted Genoways (The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food, and the forthcoming Tequila Wars), just blew the concept of cocktail ice out of the park. Earlier this week, after an Armageddon-like hailstorm pounded their house and neighborhood in Nebraska, piercing holes into roofs in its wake, Andrei and Genoways collected some of the heavy, lemon- and grapefruit-sized orbs and mixed up a few drinks. Genoways described his wife's inspiration to the Lincoln Journal Star: "She came in with a fistful of hailstones, and she said, ‘I think we just need to make some drinks.'"

"What could be more small-batch and rare than a large hailstone that just fell from the sky," Genoways mused. Because he's currently writing a book about tequila, he decided to mix up a margarita. This particular recipe blends lime juice, agave nectar, and G4 tequila (from Arandas in Jalisco) before pouring it over actual hailstones. He christened the bespoke drinks Hail Margaritas, and notes that despite the flooding, power outage, and structural damage to his home, his tequila collection remains intact.

Though using hail in a cocktail might not be approved by the health department, it is a clutch move, and one that would make handcrafted artisanal ice look almost silly. In the battle of man-made ice vs. ice made by God/the universe (depending on how atheist you lean), there is only one winner.