Category Archives: Soda Pop Culture

Frozen Drinks, Part 7!

Okay, so now we’re sort of getting to the end of the first year of Frozen Drinks 101. I’ve searched near and far for everything that even possibly resembles a Slurpee in the north Georgia area (which is why I won’t be covering the various milkshakes and Wendy’s Frosty-like drinks since these are not Slurpee like at all.) We’re entering the home stretch and there are only a few articles left.

Today brings us to a very odd entry in this slush/Slurpee debacle. I’m not sure exactly what this concoction is called outside of the individual flavor names, but for sake of ease I’m going to call it the Frozen Misc. Float. I’ve only ever seen this machine at one place, this tiny generically named Food Mart that is part of a small shopping center and isn’t connected to a gas station though that is basically what this is, the generic gas station food mart.

Before I get into the drink, I’d like to talk a little more about this mart. About a year ago, when I first started putting together the list of movies and candies my friend Kevin and I would be enjoying for our current Movie Night, I hit a stumbling block on a bunch of candies. See for some reason no stores, no grocery stores, specialty candy stores, mega Wal-Marts or Targets, or any gas stations for a 30 mile radius seemed to carry candy items that I knew were still being made. I had the hardest time finding Chunky Bars, Fruit Stripe Gum, and any Bubblicious, Hubba Bubba, or Bubble Yum gums that were anything other than Cotton Candy or Sour whatever flavor. Then one day on a whim I decided to check the odd little Food Mart, and low and behold, as I opened the door I knew I had found the Shangri-La of weird food stuff. Not only did they have everything I wanted on my candy list, but they also had Pepperoni Pizza flavored Combos with the cracker crust (very rare in Georgia), a weird new frozen drink, and a porn rack. No gas stations or related food marts in Georgia have porn anymore. I can think of like two. That was such a staple of my youth (not buying mind you, but just ogling the tops of the covers which were mostly hidden from view on the top shelf) and yet porn is nowhere to be found anymore.

Alas, back to the frozen drink at hand. Basically like I said above this is a Float related machine that has two flavors (one of which that apparently rotates.) When I first stumbled upon the machine it was IBC Root Beer Float and Crush Orange Dream flavors. Soon after the root beer flavor was replaced by another Crush Flavor, Strawberries ‘n’ Cream.

The first thing that sort of confounded me was the various brandings on the cups. As you can see in the below picture, there is a Slush Puppie logo, and since the drink has a very SP like consistency, I figured maybe it was just a major label of carbonated flavored Slush Puppies or something. The cups though, have like four other brandings on them that I’ve never heard of, and none of them are IBC or Crush, which leads me to believe that the cups may not match the drink machine. I mean this is a generic Food Mart and I wouldn’t put it past them to just use whatever cup stock they found lying in the back alley after closing.

I had previously tried the Root Beer flavor and since it wasn’t available I decided to go with the Orange Dream flavor for this review. Though I am hard pressed to say any frozen drink is the worst frozen drink ever, I think these would be a good contender, right up there with the Popeye’s Chillers. Basically, like I said, these have the same consistency as a Slush Puppie though they are carbonated and are very creamy. I guess it’s supposed to taste like a melted Orange Cream pop, but at the end of the day it just tastes like a bunch of orange flavored children’s aspirin crushed up and mixed with milk and ice and that’s pretty darn gross. I don’t know what it is about frozen drinks and their medicinal taste. Maybe the taste scientists are Nyquil addicts or something.

I’m almost afraid to try the Strawberries ‘n’ Cream flavor, and at this point might just give these up as they haven’t been good yet. The Root Beer was alright, but amazingly watered down and at the end of the day I’m just not a big fan of the “hardly and ice” slush. Once again the below photo is misleading as all the ice has gathered at the top.

Join me next time when I tackle other milk related Frozen Drinks from the BK Frozen Float to the Sonic Cream Slush.

Frozen Drinks 101, Part 6!

I’ve been doing the positive thing for a couple of these Frozen Drink Reviews, so now it’s time to head back to negative land with one of the worst slush concoctions known to man, the Popeye’s Slush, which is part of their new Cajun Chillers variety of frozen drinks.

Now one of my main complaints with slush drinks is that you tend to suck out all of the syrup/liquid really quickly and then are left with a heaping lump of useless ice. Well on this front, the Popeye’s slush is the on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. There is hardly any ice in the damn things, though the below picture would make you think otherwise.

Basically there is about one fourth of a cup of ice in the drink and it’s apparently much lighter than the syrup because it all floats on top of the drink. When drinking it all you get is syrup and let me tell you it isn’t good. It’s really thick in consistency and tastes kinda chemically like almost gasoline-y. The after taste is god-awful and very lasting.

To top this off, the syrups don’t taste all that different between the flavor varieties. There’s a cherry, a strawberry, and fruit punch, and a hurricane punch (which is blue) and they all pretty much taste the same. When these were first offered they had a Lime slush that was awesome as far as flavor goes, but it was still the same thick consistency with little to no ice. I haven’t been able to finish one of these off yet and I think its time to stop trying, the one for this review being the last one I will purchase.

Frozen Drinks 101, Part 5!

So let’s bust through some more Frozen Drink goodness on this the most stress-less day of the week. Today I’m going to take a look at the Sonic Slush from the 50’s styled fast food chain. We first got Sonics a couple few years ago after the boom of another 50’s styled chain of fast food places, Checkers. Whereas Checkers has the corner on the market of seriously cheap burgers and hot dogs (almost in a scary way), Sonic has a different approach, a seriously cheap and amazingly diverse drink selection.

Though they are known for their various Lime-Aids, it’s their slushes that I was interested in since I’m a frozen drink fanatic. What stuck me first is their selection. You can get a slush in like a gazillion flavors including cherry, orange, grape, green apple, watermelon, blue coconut (called Ocean Water for some weird reason), apple juice, cranberry juice, fresh lime, fresh strawberry, fresh lemon, and fresh lemon-strawberry. I’ve also heard rumors of a fabled vanilla slush. Well it’s not really fabled; I mean they offer vanilla as an add-in, in any drink though I’m not sure which base flavor other than coconut it would go good with.

Now being a slush it’s definitely in the Slush Puppie camp of frozen drinks and no where near a Slurpee or Icee, and even though I’m not a huge fan of the Slush Puppie, I am of the Sonic Slush. The reason is that where the Slush Puppie has huge ice crystals that are easy to suck the syrup off of, the Sonic slush has smaller ice crystals and therefore it stays more in solution. You can pretty much enjoy a good three quarters of the drink without it turning into a giant useless lump of ice.

Also, all the flavors are good. Seriously. This is an oddity in the frozen drink world. The cherry tastes like cherry candy not cough syrup. The orange is sufficiently orange-y without being too tart (think basic orange drink not soda.) The fresh slushes are awesome being made with real fruit as opposed to a chemically derived syrup, so the lemon is like homemade lemonade and the strawberries are awesomely strawberry-y and not just a bubble gum derivative.

Now being the option laden chain that they are, Sonic just compounds the possibilities by adding soft serve vanilla ice cream as yet another flavor option in the form of the Cream Slush. Basically you take any slush you love and have soft serve blended in to make a creamy dreamy concoction that is unmatched in the world of frozen beverages. It’s not like a milkshake or any of the various “Orange Cream�? flavored drinks out there. It’s like a cream-sicle (you know the pop-sicle with the vanilla ice cream in the middle) whipped into a drinkable drink. For however bad my grammar is, don’t let that get in the way of knowing just how good these things are.

Here are the previous entries in Frozen Drinks 101:

The Slush Puppie

The Burger King Frozen Coke

The Quik Trip Freezoni

The Race Trac Frozen Drink

Frozen Drink 101, part 4!

I was going to do these in the order I originally encountered them, but thought that I should keep the two big gas mega stations drinks together, so today we’re going to take a look at the Race Trac Frozen Drinks.

Now I haven’t really been to any Race Trac’s because they are just starting to pop up in my area, and I’ve been a big fan of Quik Trips for a while so it seemed sort of wrong. That is until I sampled one of their frozen drinks, and now I’m thinking of defecting.

First off, and like the QT Freezoni’s, Race Trac has a very large selection of Frozen Drinks. There are 8 to choose from, from your standard Coke and cherry flavors to the more rare watermelon and lemonade. They also have four additional flavors that are in a different style, more like a Slush Puppie, but I decided to concentrate on the more Slurpee like drinks.

For the purpose of this review I decided to stick to the basic Coke flavor, though I have now tried them all. I didn’t have high hopes as I’ve pretty much given up on finding anything that matches the almighty Slurpee (but I’m also beginning to wonder how much of that is psychosomatic?) As I began to dispense the drink my hopes rose as it came down pretty slow and thick. I had images of the all syrup Squishee from the Simpson’s dancing in my head, and I expected the machine to start rattling and knocking at the sheer power it took to dispense a drink this thick. This was surely no foamee.

I’m being honest when I say that this is the closest to a Slurpee a frozen drink in Georgia has come. And with such an innocuous name like Frozen Drink, I fully expected it to be cough syrupy and horrible. The consistency was perfect from start to end, and it melted at just the right rate. I never had to reposition my straw and only had to shake it once or twice. The straw was also a surprise, being of the spoon ended straw variety, also a feature of the 7-11 Slurpee.

I left that Race Trac a very happy boy with high hopes at finally finding a Slurpee replacement (until I can raise the $159,000 it costs to open a 7-11 franchise.)

Though this is largely a positive review, I do have to be honest with myself. Since the damn Frozen Drink was so good I ended up going back five or six times since that first drink and to be perfectly honest, the consistency of the quality varies. A couple of the times the Coke flavor dispensed too thick, so thick that it was mostly ice. I’m still throwing my vote in that this is the best so far, but we’ll see in the long run if the consistency of quality holds or not.

Also, as far as the other flavors are concerned, none of the others are really winners. The best of the bunch is watermelon, though it’s a little on the tart side, which is strange considering it’s watermelon flavored, the most non-tart of all fruit flavors. The cherry is hands down the winner for the most cough syrup like flavor ever in the history of frozen drink kind, and the rest are either too chemical tasting or too sweet. I’ll take a good frozen Coke any day though, enough of my bitching.

Frozen Drinks 101, part 3

So as promised, here is the next thrilling chapter in the textbook that should be a part of the curriculum of Frozen Drinks 101 (to be offered at any self respecting community college near you.)

Today’s review: Quick Trip Freezoni’s. I’m not sure how far reaching QT’s are, and I’m too lazy right now to look it up on their website, but suffice it to say, they are the most popular gas mega-station in the metro Atlanta area. Sure we have Shell’s, Texaco’s, BP’s, Citgo’s, Chevron’s, and the occasional Circle K, but QT’s are the only 16-24 pump stations with a nice large (and clean) convenience store as well. They’ve always been the gas station convenience store of choice, if not just for their selection than for their mega-awesome fountain drink station. They always have both Pepsi and Coke products on tap, and there are usually about 20 to choose from. They also specialize in the Double Quart fountain drink at a measly $0.99. Can you drink 2 quarts of soda in a sitting? Probably not, but it’s handy to have around during late night role-playing sessions, or for those not often enough Godzilla marathons on the Sci-Fi channel.

Well about a year and a half ago QT decided to get into the frozen drink business with their own concoction called the Freezoni. It’s available in 4 to 6 flavors, depending on the setup, ranging from Orange Cream and Sour Apple to a suspiciously basic Cola. They also offer the innocuous White Cherry, which is typically both bland in color and flavor.

I was pretty excited about this new direction in refreshment opportunity as I have QT’s within a mile of both work and home. Unfortunately, and once again because I was weaned on the 7-11 Slurpee, these Freezoni’s just don’t cut the mustard. For the sake of this review and my own taste buds, I decided to go with the only flavor that’s even partially drink-able, Blue Raspberry. Now I’ve tried all the flavors and all of them are hideous. I’m not talking bland or kind of bad, I’m talking impossible to keep down.

First off, the general consistency of the drink is like too dry oatmeal. The syrup to ice ratio leans heavily towards the syrup, so much so that it’s like drinking honey. There is so much, well flavor for lack of a better term, that it actually hurts a little so swallow it. Second, the flavor is so intense that there is an aftertaste for hours, most likely because it coats your throat like cough syrup and takes that long to clear. My frozen drink shouldn’t be this combative, though because of this “thickness” it does form a pretty nice firm head.

What I’ve found is that you have to cut the consistency and flavor with something much crisper and well wet. When I’m in the mood for seriously intense frozen drink flavor and I feel brave enough to attempt a Freezoni, I’ve found that the best way to get through one is by mixing it in a 50 to 50 ratio with either Sprite or Mountain Dew from the tap. The Freezoni acts as the ice in a normal fountain drink and the soda cuts though the “so sweet it’s bitter” flavor. Here’s an example of what that looks like:

Though that may not seem appetizing, it’s they only way it’s drink-able. At the end of the day I’m not sure it’s worth it for your basic adult who just wants a good frozen drink. For kids though, it’s a whole ‘nother story. When I went to the machine to get the pictures and a sample, there was a guy with four kids all screaming and clamoring for the damn things. So much so that it took twenty minutes to get my drink and pictures in peace. It just so happens that on this day the Cola flavor was on defrost and this seriously pissed off one of the kids who was like on this mission to get one a day for the whole summer or something, I couldn’t get the entire story over the din of his whining. But then again, kids have a tendency to go towards stuff that the typical adult doesn’t have the time or patience for. When I was young candy couldn’t be too sour or sweet. I remember when the liquid lollipops in the toothpaste like packaging came out and I would suckle off that for hours even though it was just about the same consistency as the Freezoni’s above.

Anyway, this unfortunately seems to be yet another bad frozen drink review. Trust, me though, keep attending this class and you will eventually see something positive, like maybe next time when I hit the next gas mega-station entry the Racetrack Frozen Drinks. Till then, do you homework and if you live by a 7-11, drink a Slurpee for me.

Frozen Drinks 101, part 2

So here’s another exciting chapter in the book of Frozen Drinks 101. Today I’m going to review the second leap in frozen drink technology I encountered when I moved to Georgia, the Burger King Frozen Coke and Frozen Fanta Cherry (formerly Frozen Minute Maid Cherry.) If you’ll remember last time I reviewed the less than stellar Slush Puppie.

I was pretty excited when Burger King added their frozen sodas to their menu because from all appearances it was built on the same foundation (or at least a similar lot) as the 7-11 Slurpee, the king of frozen drinks in my humble opinion and the one by which all others are judged.

When I first tired one, I was a little bit disappointed. Whereas it was much more like a Slurpee, there was something that just wasn’t right. It was too light and air-y. It almost seemed kind of watered down. Though I haven’t started my own lexicon for frozen drink conditions, I’ll take this opportunity to borrow from an already established one and say that they seemed to be Foamees. Though since they were also weak and since I’m not sure if this has a term I guess I’d also have to call them Jipees, which is the condition of being jipped on syrup.

I tried the other flavor at the time, the more classic Cherry but I didn’t like it too much because it tasted a bit too much like cough syrup, which was how a lot of the Minute Maid brand sodas seemed to taste to me.

Well for this new review I hoped that maybe BK had changed their formula, as its been awhile since I’d been to one. The fiancee and I both picked up a basic medium Frozen Coke (that’s the BK large equivalent, which just brings up another gripe I have with the various names of drink sizes that’s for another time.)

Though I still like it a hell of a lot better than a Slush Puppie, it sadly hasn’t changed much in the last 7 or so years. It’s still light and sort of watered down.

This one in particular developed a nasty case of the Chunkees, which is to say that there were large air pockets in the dink that cause you to have to reposition your straw a number of times to get it in a better position.

On a separate occasion when I didn’t have my camera handy I tried the new equivalent of the Cherry flavor, which is now under the Fanta brand. I was really disappointed in this one because not only does it suffer from the basic physical problems of the BK frozen Coke, but it’s also the weakest tasting Cherry I’ve ever tasted. It was like the crystal light version of crystal light or something.

Anyway, stay tuned for the next installment of this education series when I discuss the Quick Trip version of a slushie.

Frozen Drinks 101, the Slush Puppie

So I’ve been thinking a lot about Slurpees lately, or more accurately the lack of Slurpees in Georgia. I figured it’d be fun to cruise around to the various gas stations and fast food places to do small articles on the state of the frozen drink availability in rednecksville GA, so today the fiancée and I tooled around the city looking for Slush Puppies.

When I first moved to Georgia I was in serious Slurpee withdrawal as we’d already been 9 months removed from Florida and there were no 7-11’s in New Hampshire. I was hoping, since we were trekking down south again, that there would be a 7-11 somewhere, but no luck.

The first drink I came into contact with that was even close to a Slurpee was a Slush Puppie, but I was wary of the concoction because instead of simple pumping out the frozen bliss into a cup you had to combine the ice/liquid mixture with the flavoring syrup yourself. I had good reason to be wary too because when I finally got one I messed up the ratio of icy liquid to syrup and made one of the nastiest drinks ever. It was beyond sour to a point where it hurts to pucker your lips any further, and no amount of sugar packets swiped from the coffee section would sweeten it. As I’ve said before, I’m not the brightest boy and it took me a bit to realize that there were cryptic instructions on the cup that you mixed the drink in. Each cup had a “paw points�? number on it that was the number of syrup squirts you were supposed to add. This isn’t explained; at least it wasn’t on the machine I came into contact with.

The next ones were better, but it was never in the league of a Slurpee and here’s why:

The above picture is of one of the newer Slush Puppie machines that took us the better part of an evening to find (it was the 4th gas station we tried and the second Chevron). In the new format, you no longer do the drink mixing yourself. I assume some kid died from adding too much syrup and the company had to rethink their strategy.

So since I’ve never had a great love of the drink I picked up a small to try for old time’s sake. You can see the trademark Slush Puppie on the cup.

I chose the Blue Raspberry flavor purely because I liked the bluish tint to the drink and in the end it really didn’t matter because I don’t care for them. See the drink is made up of a very liquid-y mixture of sugar water and large (think sesame seed like in size) ice crystals with a sour syrup flavoring to add color and well flavor. To me this is just too wet for a frozen drink and because of this you can easily suck out all of the syrup and sugar water in like three sips. Every Slush Puppie ever has ended its poor excuse for a life as a giant chunk of flavorless ice that’s tossed into the nearest trashcan. The only way to sidestep this phenomenon is by drinking it without a lid. This can be very dangerous.

Before today the last time I had a Slush Puppie was about 7 years ago. I was particularly craving a frozen cherry drink and decided to drive 15 miles out of my way to get one from one of the last remaining Amaco gas stations in our area. I got the drink and made my way to Blockbuster to return a video. I was waiting at a red light sipping my drink sans lid for the full Slush Puppie experience when I was rear ended by a girl applying make-up in her car because she was late to work. Upon impact the entire contents of the drink exploded onto my windshield and dash scarring the bejesus out of both the girl who hit me and the guy infront of me that she knocked me into. When I stepped out of the car dripping with red Slush Puppie, they thought I was going to die.

So what’s the moral of the story kids? Leave the damn lid on and even though the drink will suffer, it’ll be less of a hassle to clean your car in the event of an accident.

Next time I’ll review the next frozen drink on my list, the Burger King Frozen Coke.