When you hear spiked slushy, you might think of a Slurpee mixed with rum, vodka or other spirit.
But this summer’s coolest drink trend takes the concept of boozy frozen slush to new heights by using fresh ingredients and beer, hard seltzer and other alcohol as a base. In the midst of a year that’s a whole bunch of dreadful, they’re something new and refreshing.
Riding the wave of hard seltzer popularity, chef Cat Cora shared a recipe for a White Claw slushie (made using a lime, frozen mangos, a White Claw and ice) this summer. Interest only continued to grow, as searches for “hard seltzer slushie” hit a new high in mid-July, according to Google Trends.
Alcoholic slushies can be made at home, typically requiring little more than a boozy base, mixer, ice and a blender.
Pinterest searches for slushies increased dramatically compared to last year, with pineapple rum slush (up 700%) and moscato slushie (up 250%) leading the way. Searches forvodka lemonade slushies, whisky slush and candy-topped alcoholic slushies have also risen in popularity, according to Pinterest spokespersonErika Berg.
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Beer-based slushies are popping up on menus across the country, including ones using Natural Light’s Naturdays and Delirium Red, a Belgian fruit ale.
Eric Schmidt, owner of Orange & Brew Bottle Shop and Tap Room in Downers Grove, Ill. (about a half-hour outside of Chicago), bought a slushie machine in late June to offset the money he lost due to “the COVID craziness.”
Orange & Brew has created a Frappuccino-like drink with Pabst Blue Ribbon’s Hard Coffee and, in another concoction, combined a cucumber cider with a mojito syrup. But the clear front-runner that has earned a permanent spot in their machine is a slushie made with Natural Light’s Naturdays, a strawberry lemonade light lager.
“That was the first thing that we put in there, and I think we sold about 150 in the first two days,” Schmidt says. “We’re not a big space so that’s a big deal for us.”
He says sales are “steady” and customers have come in looking for the drink, attracting a wider audience than their typical craft beer drinker. Schmidt says slushie sales are a “significant” part of business and he doesn’t see the appeal wearing off.
“It doesn’t seem to be a novelty where people are, like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. I’m never gonna do it again,'” he says.
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Nima Hadian, owner of Shangy’s which boasts of its assortment of more than 4,000 beers, also has reason to cheers. Hadian introduced a slushie parlor marketed as “The Slushee King” to his Emmaus, Pa. store in May that offers a menu of 20 rotating slushies made with malt-based or sugar-based alcohol.
Hadian hails sales as “tremendous,” adding he’s considering adding more machines to meet the high demand.
The Slushee King operates similar to an ice cream shop, where a customer tells an employee which slushie they want and in what size cup (10-, 16- or 24-ounce). Slushies are to-go, in a cup with a seal and can not be consumed at Shangy’s.
His current top-seller is a slushie made with Delirium Red, a Belgian fruit ale from Huyghe Brewery.
“We thought the strong cherry flavor with the sweetness and sourness that it has, would be a very good compliment to slushies,” he says. “We were 1,000% right.”
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