Some like it hot, and some like it hot in the form of a Tabasco Tipsy Snow Cone. (Hey, if you can’t beat the heat, join it–am I right?) That’s exactly why nostalgic Brooklynites (and this South-Louisiana native) will be swinging by the newly opened Branch Ofc. in Crown Heights this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the sunny months of summer. (Well, that plus its spacious backyard which doubles the three-month old bar’s initial 70-person capacity…)
Inspired by the 1960s, owner Christopher Buckley will be offering three boozy snow cone treats all summer long: the hot zinger mentioned above, Hierba Buena (Monte Alban Mezcal, sweet lime, Tabasco), the breezy Bohdi Brah (Cruzan Rum, Pineapple) and the flavor that started it all, the Sloelita (Sipsmith Sloe Gin, Cherry).
“The idea came to me while driving home one evening and spotting a man with a makeshift snow cone stand on the side of the road,” Buckley, the longtime bartender of Franklin Park and co-owner of Hanson Dry in Clinton Hill, says. “I saw the different types of syrup he had to offer, and with sloe gin on the mind, I thought, ‘Oh, what about creating a sloe cone?'”
Fast forward to yesterday evening when I got my little Cajun hands around that tiny, tangy potent paper shot disguised as a snow ball, and I was thanking the Tabasco gods for imposing such impure thoughts on Buckley’s ride home.
(Feeling hot yet? Oh, you have no idea until you try this thing.)
The bar, just south of Eastern Parkway, and its the design was inspired by Buckley’s and his wife’s family photos. She’s a fifth generation Brooklynite, and old family photos line the walls of the establishment to prove it, with plenty of decor accents commemorating the neighborhood’s historic centerpiece Ebbets Field (which was torn down in 1960).
There’s even a classic pinball machine and a photo booth, which I would have tried had I been able to balance my game in one hand and the boozy snow cone in the other (OK, maybe it was just me trying to keep my balance, period, after a few of those snow cones). The backyard has lights strung overhead to illuminate the pastel picnic tables, giving off the ambiance that you’re about to join Elvis on the beach for 60s summer beach party.
Beyond the snow cones, there are three signature house cocktails offered: Branch Ofc. (Jameson, lime, bitters), Vero Beach Fizz (Cruzan rum, grapefruit, ginger) and Note to Clara (Beefeater, lemon, cava). There are also mug beers of course, wine (including the summer favorite bubbly rosé) and, fittingly, cans of Schaefer, which was the official beer of the Brooklyn Dodgers back in the day. As for eats, the bar offers sandwiches for its patrons, plus snack-like bags of chips, pickles, nuts and cookies.
“Still working on your first cone? Want another?” asked Buckley sincerely.
“Oh, yeah, sure,” I answered wide-eyed, hiding the remnants of four crumpled cones behind my back. “Always good to have a second for research.”
I think he knew.
Branch Ofc., 225 Rogers Avenue; Crown Heights