A Slushie for Every Season
Slushies and summer are an obvious duo. But when you invest in something like a Bunn Ultra-2, you don’t want to use it just 4 or 5 months each year. I knew that there must be ways to keep the slushies flowing all through the year, so I searched them out. I found four slushie recipes—one for each season—and tried them out. I've included my thoughts (and my coworkers’) on how we would improve on the next batch. I’ll tell you upfront—every time I asked for thoughts, pretty much all I got was “Add alcohol.”
Spring Slushie—The Mock Mimosa
As a kid, each Mother’s Day, we would take my mom to the local greenhouse to pick out flowers for her gardens. Sure, spring officially starts well before Mother’s Day, but in my mind spring starts at the greenhouse. To stick with this Mother’s Day theme, I went with a mock Mimosa slushie. Of course, the Mimosa slushie is incredibly simple—just mix orange juice and champagne. Online recipes really only vary in the ratio of the two ingredients. To remove the alcohol, the internet’s general consensus is to replace champagne with ginger ale. So that’s all I did to make a simple slushie. In the hopper, we have:
- 3 containers frozen orange juice (prepared for drinking)
- 6 liters of ginger ale
The outcome pretty much tasted like cold orange juice. It was good—there’s nothing wrong with orange juice—but it’s not a mimosa. There are two ways I can think of to fix it next time.
First, I would use a different ginger ale. I used Canada Dry because it’s fairly mild as far a ginger ales go—I didn’t want the slushie tasting like ginger. But it seems each region has their own, stronger ginger ale. In Louisville, we have Vernors from Michigan and Kentucky’s own Ale-8-One. A little more ginger-ale flavor would work well, so I would use one of these stronger-flavored brands. Or I might switch it up completely and use something like Squirt as my soda.
Second (and this seems like the better option), I would just make an orange juice slushie and add champagne after pouring it. That is, I would make a normal mimosa. However, instead of using cold orange juice, I would mix an orange juice slushie and champagne in the glass.
Summer—The Southern Summer Slush
As soon as I saw this recipe, I stopped looking for summer slushies. As a Yankee now living in Kentucky, I’ve never actually sat in rocking chair on the front porch sipping sweet tea and eating moon pies—but this slushie got me close. It has everything that makes me think about a nice, relaxing August day (I do declare). I’ve affectionately called this one "The Southern Summer Slush."
What’s in the hopper:
- 1 ½ gallons sweet tea (I bought it pre-made, but if I was at home, I’d make it myself)
- 6 cans Jumex Peach Nectar
- 1 container frozen lemonade concentrate
- 2 liters ginger ale
- 2 liters peach soda
- A couple drops of peppermint extract
Some people thought that the peach made this a little too sweet, but I thought it was just right. The peach nectar gives off a subtle sweetness on the back of each sip, and it ends up being really delicious. Out of the four slushies, this one was actually my favorite. That said, about half the office disagreed with me because this slushie lacks the chocolate factor. But they also said that if I called it the “Kentucky Summer” and added bourbon, they might change their mind.
Fall—The Butterbeer Slushie
For fall, the season of pumpkin spice everything, I desperately wanted to make a pumpkin spice slushie. But we’re not going there today. Instead, we’re going to Hogsmeade for slushies—Butterbeer Slushies. Here’s what’s in the hopper:
- 2 containers (1.5 qt each) softened vanilla ice cream
- ⅔ bottle butterscotch syrup (squeeze bottle, not the jar kind)
- 24 cans cream soda (approx 4.25 2-liter bottles)
- Topped with whipped cream and the rest of the butterscotch
After looking at several dozen butterbeer recipes, this is the most simple concoction I could come up with. And it worked! I thought it should be a little less sweet, but the rest of the office has vehemently told me I was wrong. If you end up agreeing with me, some of the more in-depth recipes add a dash of salt and some cider vinegar. Depending on your taste, you may want to incorporate one of those. If you have butter or rum extract in your cupboard (or just rum), give a it a few drops of that as well. However, one of the non-muggles who’s been to Wizarding World and had real butterbeer said it tasted remarkably similar as-is.
Winter—Frozen Hot Chocolate
Whenever I have parties in the winter—especially Christmas movie nights—I’ll typically make a crockpot full of hot chocolate. It's nothing fancy—just water and the powdered mix—but it’s always gone at the end of the night. I took that idea and froze it to make Frozen Hot Chocolate. In the hopper, we have:
- 2 gallons milk (I used whole milk)
- 1 container of Nesquik (39 servings)
- 1 container chocolate ice cream (1.5 qt)
- 1 tub marshmallow fluff (13 oz)
- ½ bottle chocolate syrup
I topped the slushie with whipped cream and some more chocolate syrup. Finally I put a candy cane in because I love Christmas!
While the steps for the other three recipes are just “pour everything in the hopper and let it freeze for a while,” I was a little more careful on this one. I turned on the auger and poured in a gallon of milk, then about half the Nesquik powder, then the second gallon of milk, and finally the rest of the powder. The auger mixed it up pretty well. While it was mixing, I microwaved the marshmallow cream to liquify it a bit, then I stirred it into the mix. I put the ice cream and syrup in and let the auger do its job. However, I did keep it on “chill” rather than “ice” for about a half-hour to get everything mixed thoroughly. Since we’re not dealing with only liquids, I wanted everything to be completely incorporated before freezing.
Before my reactions, let’s take a quick science detour. The common rule when making slushies is to have a good amount of either sugar or alcohol in the mix. This lowers the freezing temperature of your liquid and gives you the slush texture instead of a chunk of ice. But another element that lowers the freezing temperature that I did not consider is fat—like in ice cream and whole milk. As such, the Frozen Hot Chocolate slushie took a lot longer to freeze than the others and was still a more liquid slush. Especially if you add booze, use a lower fat content milk like 2% or skim. Otherwise you’ll have a very long freeze and probably still won’t get the consistency you want.
Flavor-wise, this was spot on. Sweet, chocolatey, and creamy. The entire 3-gallon hopper lasted about an hour before it was empty. There was no shame or moderation in our office—just joy and chocolate! I heard comments like “OMG this tastes like Nesquik!” and “OMG this tastes like melted chocolate ice cream!” Nobody wanted me to change a thing (unless it would be adding Pinnacle Whipped Vodka).
While I only worked these four recipes, there are several other seasonal drinks I would love to try—apple cider in the fall, a spiced cranberry-orange drink in the winter, and strawberry lemonade in the summer. But those are for next time. If you find a recipe you like before then, share it in the comments below!