Tag Archives: slush puppies

It’s like 1984 for frozen drink treats….

Wow, so Hoover just tipped me off to an interesting tidbit in the mythology that is frozen drink treats. In addendum to the series of entries I did reviewing various frozen drinks (you can find them all at the end of this blog entry), I’ve now learned that the Icee company, owned by J&J Snack Foods, acquired the Slush Puppie company (or logo, trademark, whatever) from Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages Company for an undisclosed amount. I’m apparently very late to the party with this bit of news seeing as how it happened last year in June.

So there is one less company floating around in the frozen drink game. This is just another in a long list of corporate mergers that I think is kind of sad in terms of branding because it’s one more choice that is little more than an illusion in terms of product loyalty. Now in the grand scheme of things and in the world today worrying about brand loyalty is pretty stupid and unimportant. I am well aware that there are many more important and terrible things going on, and yada yada yada.

I can’t ignore that I was raised in a world where branding was hard to ignore, I mean how many people out there are “Coke” people while the others are “Pepsi” (I doubt there are enough “store brand” loyalists out there for me to mention them, oh crap, I guess I just did)? It’s not like we’re going to go to war over it, but in a restaurant, when ordering a refreshing beverage to wash down a nice meal and you politely ask for a Coke and the waitress or waiter replies, “I’m sorry we only have Pepsi…”, doesn’t a very small part of you just fall for a second before saying, “That’s cool, I’ll have one of those.”

Well when I see companies and products merged under one roof, I can’t help but think that somewhere behind the curtain the product that is being produced just doesn’t matter as much anymore, I mean Matchbox, Hotwheels, it’s all just little toy cars (well not really, but I’m sure it is under Matel’s eyes), it’s all units shipped and stuff. I mean, if it’s cost efficient, just ship the same toys in different packaging and no one will mind. When I was working at a grocery store in the 90′s I learned that the store-brand frozen veggies were actually the same exact frozen veggies that a huge major brand were selling, that the grocery chain had the “major brand company” provide the contents and just packaged them in their own store-brand packaging and sold it for less because they could afford to. So at the end of the day, it didn’t matter which frozen green beans I picked up, it was all the same thing. That if I took more than a few seconds choosing between the two it was a complete waste of time because there really was no choice, just the illusion of one, and to me that’s kind of sad.

Obviously there is a big difference between a Slush Puppie and an Icee, and I don’t even particularly like Slush Puppies, hell they could probably do nothing but benefit from Icee owning them, but I know that there are people out there that love Slush Puppies and if down the road a bit it become apparent that the profit margin for Icee is higher than SP’s, that if keeping the option open to choose between the two is unprofitable, Slush Puppie will be fazed out.

I think I’m thinking about this too hard. Hey look, CHiPs is coming out on DVD….

Frozen Drinks 101, Part 10!

So this has ended up being a much longer list of reviews than I thought it was going to be. This is the second to last of them though, and a double whammy at that. These last two entries will cover the more long running and original frozen soda drinks.

This entry is going to cover the Icee and its sister brand the Artic Blast. Before I started these reviews I knew next to nothing about the history involved in the frozen soda drinks outside of the fact that Slurpees have been around for 40 years, and I only know this because of the commemorative keepsake cup series they did last year. Well as it turns out, the Icee is the grand daddy of all frozen soda drinks.

As the story goes, Omar Knedlik who owned and ran a Dairy Queen in Coffeyville, Kansas in the 1950s, invented the frozen soda drink. Depending on the telling of the story, he either didn’t have a soda fountain machine yet or it was broken and he needed to supply his thirsty customers with cold soda so he took to sticking bottles of soda in his freezer. One day he left them in a bit too long and the bottles half froze, but being the soda-serving lovable guy he was, he gave them to customers anyways. Well everyone apparently flipped for the half frozen sodas, which consequently have almost the exact same consistency as today’s Icees and Slurpees. Since the customers were so taken with the novelty sodas, he decided to devise a machine that would dispense half frozen soda.

Once again the story gets cloudy, but Omar either couldn’t come up with a design himself or his design wasn’t adequate so he contacted the John E. Mitchell Company, a Dallas machinery manufacturer, in 1959 to help him realize his dream of a frozen soda fountain machine. According to the Slurpee website, Mitchell was very taken with the idea and his big advancement for the machine design was to being working with automobile air conditioners to freeze the syrup and water mix. Together Mitchell and Knedlik began building the frozen fountain drink machines and then sold them to other Dairy Queens and convenience stores under the branding of the Icee.

Depending on the brand history you read (Icee or Slurpee) the machines were either very successful (Icee’s version of events) or a failure (Slurpee’s version of history.) Either way a 7-11 storeowner ended up in Omar Knedlik’s Dairy Queen and ended up buying three machines for the 7-11 Corp. So 7-11, after tweaking the design of the machine, introduced Slurpees to the public.

Both drinks went on to flourish and basically became the standards upon which all others have been derived or judged (in my humble opinion.)

So like I said, this entry of Frozen Drinks 101 will cover the Icee and the Artic Blast. I was always under the impression that the two were different brands, but they are in fact the same product under different names. Up until recently I had only seen Artic Blasts at movie theatres in the area so I was figuring that maybe that was the reason, that maybe Icee licensed their brand to like AMC or something, but then when I decided to hit the local Target for an Icee to review they only had Artic Blasts. So I have no idea why there are two brandings, and the Icee website doesn’t have any info on that. Oh well. I managed to find an Icee at a local Shell gas station so whatever. I’m going to review both though for reasons that will become apparent in a minute.

First we’ll start with the Icee though. With the famous polar bear in a sweatshirt branding, the Icee was definitely the second frozen drink of choice (behind Slurpee of course) growing up in Florida. The main reason for this is location because I doubt that I had developed my now keen sense of distinguishing between flavor and consistency at the age of seven. When I did have them it was while visiting K-Marts, which my mom rarely seemed to go to. Back in the 80′s there seemed to be more choices as far as non-food shopping went. Whereas today you pretty much have to choose between places like Targets and Wal-Marts which are both the same but different, in the 80′s there were more places like Ross, Service Merchandise and stand alone Sears stores and stuff.

Anyways, I didn’t have that many Icees growing up, but recently, recently I’ve almost overdosed on them now that I know they are at a gas station on the way to work. The basic set up by work has three flavors, cherry, blue raspberry and Coke. Once again, I’m going to stick with coke for the review for consistency’s sake.

Though the machine in the above picture has all the defrost lights lit, rest assured that it was from a different day than when I picked up my first Icee in years. The first thing that struck me about the Icee was just how smart the branding is on the product. Not only is it the only other brand outside of Slush Puppie to use a cartoon character as a mascot, but also its color scheme is so basically American that it isn’t funny. Red, White, and Blue all the way. Adding the basic Coke flavor, this should be temporary re-dubbed the Freedom Slushie.

Okay, as far as the consistency is concerned, the Icee is pretty damn good. It’s got use enough ice and syrup that it’s almost always on the brink of becoming a liquid so every slurp sort of melts in the straw and it’s a lot like drink the perfectly cold unwatered down coke. It’s a pretty interesting aspect to the drink that puts it a little more in function over form category of frozen drinks. Whereas the Race Trac Frozen Drink is frozen all the way up the straw, brain-freeze inducing and a little harder to drink, the Icee is more like the perfect fountain drink. I can see this in the company history of the story and it seems to be that way to this day.

I did end up trying the cherry flavor recently when the Coke was on defrost in the morning and I was also pleasantly surprised by the non-cough syrup flavor it had. It tasted pretty much like your basic cherry candy flavor, though a little more soda like.

Now onto the Artic Blast. I wanted to cover this drink mostly because it broke one of the main conventions of frozen flavor drinkdom that I don’t think I’ve ever see done, it was available in Pepsi and not Coke. Gasp! Say it ain’t so Joe! As far as soda is concerned I’m not really in one camp or the other in terms of company loyalty. I can surely taste the difference, but sometimes I’m in the mood for a Coke and its rich syrupy bite, while sometimes I’m more in the mood for a Pepsi and its crisper cleaner less sweet taste. I’d just as soon pick up a Mellow Yellow as a Mountain Dew, and I pretty routinely avoid Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb both. I know from sodas, but the one thing I never really thought about is why you tend to always find frozen soda in Coke not Pepsi branding.

Well excitedly the fiancee and I marched right up to that machine and poured out heaps of frozen Pepsi fun into our Target branded cups.

In fact we were enthusiastic that we fell prey to the most common of frozen drink faux pas, the amazing growing slushie!

If you’re not careful the drink will continue to expand right onto the counter and all over your hands while you’re trying to save that precious drink.

Upon taking my first sip I realized why Pepsi is hardly ever found in frozen drink form. It’s too watered down to make a good frozen drink. That’s inherent in the soda itself as the syrup is less sweet than Coke and therefore when it’s frozen and it has to contend with the extra water (in the form of ice mind you) it makes the final taste rater watery. Part of this, I believe, rests with the Target version of the Artic Blast it self because all flavors at all Targets I’ve sampled are a bit on the light side when it comes to syrup. Target was the only place for a long time that I could find a frozen Mountain Dew, though it lost all the punch of the soda in the process, unlike the Mountain Dew Slurpee which is ten times better than the Artic Blast version.

The odd flip side to this is the difference between Artic Blasts at Targets and AB’s at AMC movie theatres. The movie theatre ones are much better as far as consistency and taste is concerned. So I don’t think it’s a brand thing as much as a location thing, and Target apparently isn’t the place to get the optimal version. Of course it’s freaking expensive to get into the movie theatre these days and there aren’t a lot of reasons (e.g. good movies) to bother, so the theatre Artic Blast is truly a treat that’s only available to me a few times a year.

Thus ends my frozen drink reviews for the time being until my next trip to Florida when I’ll cover the Slurpee in extreme detail. So once again, here are all the past reviews:

Slush Puppies

Burger King Frozen Coke

Quik Trip Freezonis

Race Trac Frozen Cokes

Sonic Slushes

Popeye’s Cajun Chiller Slushes

Crush Frozen Orange Dreams

Burger King Coke Float and Sonic Creamslush

Lollicup Asian Slush

Frozen Drinks 101, Part 9!

So today we divert a little from your classic American frozen drinks and venture into the unknown world of Asian slushes! Okay, so like pretty much the entire city where I live has had a make over in the last three or four years and slowly everything that was once there business-wise has moved down the main street about a mile. All the supermarkets went from twenty and thirty year old strip malls to brand new mega giant solitary locations while most of the other more eclectic stores that were in the old strip malls either closed or moved to another city. Basically the city has turned into a sort of ghost town of old empty strip malls.

Recently though, most of these have been bought up and either remodeled, or bull dozed to make way for new international strip malls. We now have a Mexican indoor mall where our outlet mall was (and it’s really nice with a bunch of awesome candy shops and tattoo parlors.) We also have no less than 4 Asian mega, two-story strip malls as well as two giant Asian farmers markets. Since I’m so enamored with the Asian culture this has been great. There are two stationary stores in particular that can’t be beat as far as Kogepan, Astroboy, and Miyazaki merchandise is concerned.

What’s been just the bee’s knee’s though are all the new restaurants that have popped up including a plethora of Vietnamese Pho houses. “Jefe, do you know what a plethora of Vietnamese Pho noodle houses means?” It means lots of awesome soup and sweet, sweet Vietnamese slushes. There are two houses in particular that I frequent, a hole in the wall place with great soup and okay slushes called What the Pho and a more upscale ritzy place with okay soup and awesome slushes called Pho Mimi. We’ll concentrate on the latter today as they have my favorite Vietnamese slush flavor, Green Apple!

Now I’m not completely convinced that this brand of slush is actually Vietnamese. The noodle house is, but the brand of slush they serve, Lollicup, makes no mention of nationality on their website and I believe it is based out of California, though it’s run by Asians. I’m making the assumption that it’s Vietnamese because I can only find them in the noodle houses, so if I’m wrong scream and shout and let me know the error of my ways. Anyway, I grabbed the fiancee and we strode off to Pho Mimi and picked up a couple of slushes, a green apple for me and a chocolate-mint for the lady.

It was a race to get back to the apartment so that I could photographically chronicle this momentous slushy event. As you can see below, traffic got a little bit of the better of my slush as it’s kind of melt-y on the bottom. None the less, I shall press on as I’m not about to run out and get another just for the pictures.

So these slushes are awesome. First off after the restaurants make them, they use a machine to seal them in the cup so there will be no spillage. You just poke your straw into the plastic covering and you’re good to go. All of the restaurants have served their slushes like this so far, so I’m assuming its par for the course.

Now one of the best aspects about these slushes is how they differ consistency-wise from other more American slushes. These are made with totally pulverized ice that’s got such small ice crystals that it’s got a very smooth and silky consistency almost like frozen yogurt but obviously more icy than creamy. Most of the places also give you a very oversized, diameter-wise, straw so you get pretty much a consistent flow of icy beverage and you don’t end up sucking out all the syrup first. Another great aspect is the syrup. High quality stuff, and it’s reflected in the price. Whereas most slush and Slurpee drinks will run you $1 to $1.89 or so, these Asian slushes are typically $3 or more, but they are so worth it every once in awhile.

The last thing that I love about these drinks is their flavor variety. Like I said the woman got a chocolate-mint slush. Chocolate?!? In a slush?!? Yes sir and she said it was great. They’re also offered in most of the more Asian fruit flavors like durian, longan, lychee, coconut and honeydew as well as more standard fruit fare like peach, watermelon, orange and strawberry.

It seems like the world of frozen drinks is truly opening up in Georgia.  All we need now is a freaking 7-11 franchise to open up and I’d be freaking set.

Frozen Drinks, Part 8!

Thatsa creamy frozena drinka! Today’s entry in the textbook of Frozen Drinks 101 is a double whammy as we take a look at the Burger King Coke Float and the Sonic Creamslush! I was introduced to the BK Coke Float before Sonics started popping up so I guess we’ll cover that one first.

Now I am no stranger to the float as a drink, and even sort of grew up on coke floats in general, but I have always known them to be a mixture of vanilla ice cream and regular sodas. Now I love me a float, but I’ll be honest, making them at home is an art unto it self. I am not sure if it’s an order thing (to add coke or ice cream first) or a “brand of ice cream used” thing but every time I’ve ever made a float the same problem happens. This nasty unappetizing foam forms on the top that continuously grows for minutes, obliterating most of the soda and taking a good five minutes out of the drinking process while I scrape it off into the sink. It also seems to separate the color additive from the soda so that the leftover soda is clear (and as anyone who partook in that Crystal Pepsi debacle a decade ago can attest to, clear soda that isn’t limon in flavor is a scary thing indeed.) I was raised on Breyer’s which is about as basic as you can get (I believe the ingredients listed are milk, cream, and sugar.) Maybe I need to switch to a more ingredient filled variety, like maybe the all natural goodness of Breyer’s clashes violently with all forms of chemically derived sodas or something.

Anyway, a few years ago, I believe around the time of the first Ice Age movie, Burger King Corp. got the brilliant idea of combining two of their dessert properties into one big frozen creamy soda-y drink movie tie-in known as the BK Ice Age Float. At the time the two available flavors were cherry and some blue fruity thing that wasn’t blue raspberry. At first I thought that the drink was an abomination, that soft serve ice cream surely would do nothing but mar the perfectly fine frozen drink flavor. Boy was I wrong. Today the float seems to be a seasonal item and it’s pretty basic as far as flavors go, being the creamier version of a frozen Coke or Fanta.

I decided, as you can read in my review of the BK Frozen Coke, that since their Fanta cherry is pretty crappy that I’d just go with a basic Coke Float. Let me tell you, as watered down as the normal frozen Coke was, the addition of soft serve vanilla ice cream is exactly the kick their frozen drink needs to get it back up to mega tasty.

It might be kind of hard to see in the picture because I was gypped and was served the drink in a paper cup instead of the clear one advertised in the sign above, but the drink is basically frozen Coke layered on top of a bed of soft serve. The awesome thing is that whoever poured this monster was bright enough to mix it up a bit before handing it off to me. That makes all the difference in the world as far as this type of combo is concerned. See if they didn’t do that all you’d get when you sucked up through the straw would be soft serve. That’s how it was when I was first introduced to the drink, and it was cool, but not great.

The only drawback to this drink was that it’s best when firm, and the more it melts the less appetizing it gets. I guess melted soft serve isn’t exactly as cool as the ice cream soup I used to make as a kid.

As you can see in the gross picture above, if it takes you more than 20 minutes to down one of these bad boys then you’ll most likely be left with a watery, foamy mess of a drink that resembles that nasty homemade Coke float foam I was talking about above.

So a very similar drink, just not carbonated and a lot fruitier is the Sonic Creamslush. Basically it’s the same deal as above except Sonic blends any flavor slush with soft serve to form a rich creamy, well creamslush.

I tried my damnedest to get a grape creamslush, for one because grape cream-sicles were my favorite and two because I haven’t had a purple drink in any of these reviews. Well unfortunately they made this one heavy on the soft serve so a lot of the color was lost.

Whatever the color these are awesome frozen drinks. Whereas the Crush Frozen Orange Dream drink tried to taste like a cream-sicle but only ended up tasting suspiciously like orange flavored children’s aspirin, all of the Sonic versions of the creamslush taste awesome. The only one I haven’t tried is green apple, because creamy and sour seem like a bad combo, but I’ll bet it’s better than that Orange Dream piece of crap.

Once again, like the BK Floats, the drink is on a time limit. Because it’s made with soft serve it’s got a limited shelf life before it gets melt-y and gross. Luckily for the consumer (and unlucky for the environment) all sonic drinks are served in Styrofoam cups so they are pretty well insulated from even the hottest summer heat and therefore can last up to an hours before they get gross. If you can’t finish your frozen treat in that amount of time though maybe you should just consider drinking water.

Well we’ve made it though eight, count ‘em, eight frozen drink reviews. So far we’ve covered:

Slush Puppies

Burger King Frozen Cokes

Quik Trip Freezonis

Race Trak Frozen Cokes

Sonic Slushes

Popeye’s Cajun Chiller Slushes

Crush Frozen Orange Dreams

Join us next time when we get exotic and cover Vietnamese slushes!

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.