How to Properly Enjoy a Slurpee or Icee

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The classic 7-Eleven Slurpee has been a "comfort food" of mine since the late 1970′s. On hot summer days, my friends and I would scrape up whatever pocket (or couch) change we could, and walk to the 7-Eleven to buy candy and a Slurpee, then sit on the curb (mostly avoiding the dog feces), and goof around while we cooled off our internal organs.

Over the years I've discovered some interesting ways to maximize the enjoyment of these frozen beverages, and have compiled a list of tips to help those less seasoned in enjoying this exquisite treat.

  1. Icee or Slurpee?
    Perhaps the most important question one can ask is which frozen beverage is the best, a Slurpee or an Icee? The truth is that it depends on your personal taste. Technically speaking, 7-Eleven licensed the Icee drink technology in 1967 and rebranded it as Slurpee. So Icee is the original aerated, slushy beverage. But I've always found that Slurpee offered a wider variety of flavors, and other more appealing options like the ability to mix two flavors into one cup, aluminum straws, and the option to drink out of the head of a wookie. The Slurpee machines seem to have better up-time as well, and tend not to cause spontaneous inflation (see below).

  2. When to Buy
    I know it's a hot day, and you're dying for a Slurpee/Icee. But should you grab one before you run the rest of your errands? I would recommend that you consider whether the drink will have to sit in a hot car for any length of time, or if you will be banned from bringing it into any of the other establishments you'll be visiting. If so, I'd recommend picking up that succulent slushy goodness as one of your last stops.

  3. Save it for Later...
    So, you get home and you'd like to save the remaining Slurpee/Icee for later. Forget it. Once you put it in the freezer it will become a nasty ice cylinder. It will lose all of its pseudo carbonation, lie flat, and die a frozen death. Buy. Drink it. Toss it.

  4. Self-Serve
    When Icee and Slurpee first came on the scene, the custodian of the mechanical frozen beverage turk would dispense your drink for you. Nowadays, they're mostly self-serve. And this gives you the ability to top off that cup, and more importantly, take a taste of a new flavor before committing to a full cup. It is appropriate Slurpee/Icee etiquette to take a small taste of one or two flavors before taking a full pour. Just don't over-do it. To serve yourself, first make sure the "do not use when lit" light is off, ensuring that the mixture is frozen and ready to pour. Then put the domed lid onto the empty cup, place the nozzle of your chosen flavor into the hole in the top of the lid, and pull that lever.

  5. Which flavor?
    This is another one that is completely subjective, but I do recommend a few choice flavors. Coca Cola/Pepsi are a staple, and always a favorite. But don't miss out on classics like Blue Raspberry (which tastes like cotton candy), Mountain Dew, Cherry, Orange, and Sobe Energy.

  6. Spontaneous Inflation
    This event occurs when the slush isn't quite mixed right in the machine. You'll notice that the spinning slurry is darker in color than normal, appearing syrupy. If you fill your cup too high, it will expand on its own for a few seconds after dispensing, and explode out of the cup like an arctic volcano. You'll be left crouched on the floor, crying, covered in Slurpee/Icee like a Willy Wonka version of "The Crying Game". This tends to happen more often with Icee machines. My advice is that if you see that the slush is dark and syrupy in the machine, fill your cup only as high as the top edge. It will probably expand up into the domed lid on its own. Save yourself the embarrassment.

  7. The Straw
    I don't care what the protocol states, or even what Slurpee/Icee purists tell you. Do not use the straw with the stupid little spoon on the end. Are you really going to spoon-feed yourself 1/4 of a teaspoon at a time? Grab a Big Gulp straw and enjoy your drink like a normal human. And make sure to stand up the straw next to the cup to be sure it's long enough. And though the aluminum straws are really cool (literally, frickin freezing cold), they're gimmicky. Just get a plastic straw.

  8. 40 Ounces? Are you Kidding me?
    No, I'm not. Here's where common sense will fool you. If you're reasonably thirsty, get the largest size you can. Remember, the drink contains a lot of air, so you're not really drinking that much liquid. And the larger the drink, the slower it will melt into a weird Kool Aid.

  9. Maintain Beverage Integrity
    Gravity hates Slurpee's/Icee's. As soon as you get outside, the syrup will start to sink to the bottom of the cup. Here's a tip to keep the drink well mixed. Try to hold it at an angle such that the bottom is even with the domed lid. And swish it in circles occasionally to mix the ingredients around. Before you swirl the cup, blow into the straw to push any of the beverage back into the cup, otherwise when you swirl, the straw will hurl all over you.

  10. Recycle
    It's important that you recycle your plastic cup when finished. Do not throw it into a trash can unless it's a resin coated paper cup.

I make a habit of sharing the experience of enjoying a Slurpee/Icee with my children every so often. It's important to pass on the simple pleasure of this beverage to future generations, though, I do remind them of the importance of variety in their diets, and that sugary drinks like these should be occasional treats, not daily staples.

Michael directs all design initiatives, heads marketing, and builds cool software for Fynydd. He's also a husband, father, avid reader, advocate for reason and science, and autodidact.

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