What Is A Slushie?
"Slush" "Slushy" "Granita", "Sorbet", "Slurpee", "Icee", "Slushie""Slush Puppie" "brain freeze" - we call them SLUSHIES .. whichever you choose to call them, they're all distinct from Ice Creams and it might surprise you to know, much older in origin.
Slushies essentially consist of frozen slushed water mixed with flavourings, but without dairy products or egg included. Put in egg and/or diary and you've got ice cream or smoothy, smoothie, or even a frappe!
Let's stick to slushies, or slurpees, or .... no, definitely slushies
There are two types of Slushie made by machines in shops and garages and canteens;
- 1) those made with frozen, carbonated water and flavouring and colouring ("FCB" - Frozen Carbonated Beverage).
- 2) and those more simply made with stirred slush and flavourings and colourings or, as in our Frutina Natural Slushies, with fruit juices and natural flavours and natural colours. These are called ("FUB" - Frozen Uncarbonated Beverage).
The big differences between "FCB" and "FUB" slushies when you're drinking them is the result of the expansion of the liquid content in the slushing process.
With "FCB" slushies, due to the CO2 injected during the freezing, there is an expansion of at least 85% of the liquid volume into slush - this means that if you let a full cup of FCB slush stand until it melts, the cup would end up less than a quarter full!
With "FUB" slushies, such as Frutina Natural Slush, there is only a maximum of 10% expansion of the original liquid volume, caused by partial freezing. So if you let a cup of Frutina Natural Slushie stand until it melts, the cup will still be almost full!
After these two, big differences, other differences are mostly about what is used to make the liquid base of the slush.
The Frozen Carbonated machines typically, can't slush anything with a higher fruit juice content than about 30% max.
The Frozen Uncarbonated machines however, can slush any liquid, provided the brix level is right. This includes whole fruit juices, part juice mixes, frozen coffee (mmmmm), smoothie mixes and .. of course COCKTAILS with alcohol in them!
The Slushie Co supplies right across the range including soft drink-based slush mixes, such as our "Original" range, through our scrumnificient cocktail range to our premium healthy fruit slushie FRUTINA Natural, which uses blends of fruit juices, natural flavours and natural colours to produce a healthy, sumptuous and thirst-quenching, brain-freezing experience.
Can You "Slush" Just Any Drink?
No, to get the slushie effect, the liquid base must be within a certain "brix" range. This refers to the amount of sugars and other content in the base, which act as an "antifreeze" to stop it freezing solid. The brix level must be between about 12% and 14% to both produce a high quality slush and to not damage the machine in the making.
The Great Slushie!
"How about 'The Perfect Slushie'?" you may ask. Well, let's say from the start, there's no such thing - not for everyone, not all the time.
We aim for 'The Great Slushie'. We think this can be achieved with consistency, but 'The Perfect Slushie' is something that just happens - like happiness - when you're not looking.
The words 'happiness' and 'happens' look much like each other, don't they?
That's because they both come from the same, very old word 'hap', which means 'by luck or by fortune'.
This is the same with 'The Perfect Slushie'.
You'll be almost all the way through it - nearly the end, and you'll think - "Oooh, that's ooooooh, so lovely, mmmm, I wish it would never end".
There you go - you're one of the Lucky Ones, you've just had "The Perfect Slushie" experience! So, if we concentrate on producing 'The Great Slushie', then 'Perfect Slushies', by way of 'hap', will occur.
The first thing you need to produce "The Great Slushie" is the right kind of machine - to get the right kind of slush. This is vital!
We have always used the best available machines .. and we sell them, too. We look for a combination of reliability, good looks and functionality. Oh .. and they have to be able to produce the best kind of slush, under all conditions!
On the quality of slush, we like it a nice, soft flaky sort of consistency. However, some people prefer it to be grainy (that's where the Italian word granita comes from), and our choice of machines can produce either, depending on how they are set up to run. The important bit is that it's consistent - not too runny, or got lumps in it, or sharp iciness. The machines we use, whether the USA-made BUNN or the Italian made SPM, have design advantages that successfully deal with these problems.
The next thing to get right is the slushie mix, of course!
This is mostly down to the quality of ingredients and the experience and skills of the producer.
There are a number of factors to balance against each other, and it is much more difficult (and more expensive, too!) to produce healthy slushies than artificial, sugar-based 'soft drink' type slushies.
Some of the factors are; seasonal differences in fruit juices, both in taste and colour and chemistry. This means you can't rely on one batch of juice producing the same results as another. Another problem is the inherent instability of juices; whilst they may not go off, they can still change, particularly in colour, but also in flavour.
Then, of course, being seasonal, fruit juices vary in price, according to market.
Hmmm!! .. you can see a lot of head-scratching goes on.
We are very fortunate to know the best producers in Australia (there are several), each with their own special skills. We have each produce onwe of our own special range of mixes, whether its our FRUTINA Natural, or our BEACH PARTY COCKTAIL mixes, or the SLUSHIE CO ORIGINAL range.
The look of "The Great Slushie' is very important too, of course. This results from the combination of the quality of the slush, and the qualities of the colours of the slushie mixes. It is much more difficult to produce pleasing results consistently using natural colours (for example, lemon juice turns everything a nasty brown!).
'The Great Slushie" is a bit like a great song. It has to have great slush, like a song has to have great words; and it has to have great taste, as a song has to have great music.
Combine these two together, and you can 'perhaps' have your little bit of Slushie Heaven!!
First - the words... "granita" comes from the Italian for grain, because the ice can have a grainy quality. "Sorbet" and "shebert" both come from a Turkish word, meaning 'frozen drink', whilst "slushie" originates, via English, from a Norwegian word meaning "sloppy". The others are trade names that have become well known.
Slushies have been around for much longer than you might think.
The Chinese are generally credited for creating flavoured iced drinks, possibly as early as 3000 BC - that's 5000 years ago!
It is recorded that Alexander the Great loved slushies, over 2300 years ago! He had trenches filled with snow so that he and his soldiers could have a supply of slush to mix with fruity flavours, whenever they fancied - makes you wonder if they had a name for a Brain Freeze!
The Roman Emperor Nero is recorded as having served honey and wine slushies made with snow which was passed in buckets hand to hand, by runners all the way from the mountains to his banquet hall.
The famous Italian explorer and trader, Marco Polo, is said to have brought new recipes of fruit-flavoured, slushies back to Italy from his travels in China, in the fourteenth century. Certainly, Italians became the undisputed masters of the art of the slushie - or granita, as it is usually called there. Indeed, our machines, which we believe to be the best slushie machines, are made in Italy!
We would guess that the pleasures of slurping slushies goes back even further than these instances. We reckon humans possibly figured out that snow mixed with squashed fruit not only beautifully preserved the fruitiness, but also made a thrilling drink - maybe even before they tried burning things to eat!
Modern slushies, made with freezing equipment, have been around since the 1950's when, so we are told, someone used an old car air conditioning unit to create a slushie machine. Now, there's an idea... imagine if your car a/c could also produce slushies! They should have stuck with it.
Since this early invention, slushie machines have been through many stages of development until we have the latest, "visual display" (yes, this highly technical term means you can see it turning around!) FCB and FUB machines we have already discussed.
Although we think we use the best machine in the world, (the mighty BUNN, as we call it!) we still think there is room for improvement. Most of our improvement ideas are about making the machines easier to use and maintain, and cheaper to run.
Have you got an idea - or two! - that you think would improve things? Yes?! .. then please, email us - you could help to create Slushie History!