Slushie drinks have been a favorite of Americans for decades. Slushies are normally made in specialized machines that freeze a liquid into a slush-like consistency. Slushie drinks come in both carbonated and non-carbonated versions. But, with the exception of the Snow Cone, making most of these drinks involves a fairly high up-front cost to purchase the machines.
Some of the best-known brands of Slushie are Slurpee, ICEE, and Slush Puppie. Both the Slurpee and ICEE are made by freezing carbonated drinks. The machines that make them are both expensive and complicated. These two brands use carbon dioxide as part of their process. This is yet another limiting requirement that keeps these machines out of most homes.
Frozen Carbonated Beverages
One reason that Slurpee and ICEE machines are so expensive is the way that the drink is made. While many Slushie drinks are made from syrup that is added to a wet mix of ice and water, Slurpee and ICEE machines create a Slushie that has very little liquid. Think of it this way. Slushies from a Frozen Carbonated Beverage (FCB) machine are flavored ice crystals with air between them. The competition serves frozen ice crystals with flavored syrup between them.
These machines mix the syrup with carbon dioxide and water, and then freeze the liquid, forming flavored ice crystals. By comparison, other, cheaper, machines grind ice, and then add the sugary flavored syrup to it. A Slurpee or ICEE drink can’t have the syrup sucked out of it. The cheaper machines produce Slushies that allow you to suck the syrup out of it with a straw, leaving just ice crystals.
The idea for an FBC was first conceived by the owner of a Dairy Queen franchise in the 1950s. He didn’t have a soda fountain in his store, so he stored his soda in a freezer. The drinks turned Slushie, and his customers loved the icy treats. He set about to make a machine to replicate the process.
Less than a decade later, he had made around 300 of these machines, which carried the ICEE brand name. In 1965, he licensed the machine to the 7-Eleven company, who named their drink the Slurpee. The rest, as they say, is history!
The process of making a Slurpee or ICEE is fairly simple to understand. A mix of sugary, flavored syrup is combined with water and carbon dioxide. In normal conditions, this would become a soda pop. Instead, the liquid is passed into a freezing cylinder, where ice forms on the surface. This is scraped off in the machine and the slurry is moved to a chamber. This chamber is kept very cold — below the freezing point — but the slurry is kept from freezing solid by a combination of pressure, the sugar, and constant motion.
The Slush Puppie brand is also held by ICEE. These are also produced by machine, and are commonly found in gas stations and small food markets. Slush Puppies are made by freezing sugared water on a cylinder, similar to the FCB machine. But that is where the similarity ends. Flavored, colorful, syrup is added to the ice slurry. This sweet, flavorful, ice slurry is kept in motion by a rotating arm in a clear container.
When a customer orders a Slush Puppie, the drink comes out flavored and ready to enjoy. But the flavor and color can be pulled from the Slush Puppy, leaving bland ice crystals in your cup. Some stores may just dispense this bland slurry, and provide the flavored, colorful, syrup in a pump to flavor after it is in the cup. This is similar to a snow cone. Although these sell for up to $3,500, some local rental companies may rent these machines out for around $100 per day.
When it comes to a Slushie for your home, the Snow Cone is king. These are always a big hit with the kids (adults, too!) Best of all, you can buy a kit with a Snow Cone maker and flavored syrups for around $50. That’s cheaper than renting a Slush Puppie machine, and you get to keep it when the party is over.
A Snow Cone is a simple concoction. Ice cubes are fed into a machine that chips, crushes or shaves the ice into a snow-like material. Actually, it’s more sleet-like than snow-like, but no one wants a Sleet Cone! Scoop the snow into a paper cone, and add the flavored syrup, and you have a snow cone!