Last night I got into a discussion with Chris about the pecking order in the frozen drink food chain. The poor man is sadly deluded about the virtues of Coca-Cola Slurpees, a substance precision engineered to induce insulin shock and brain freeze simultaneously. For the benefit of culinary science, herewith I present the definitive hierarchy:
Wild Cherry Icee
Perched at the top of the slush mountain, the Icee represents the pinnacle of the form. Whipped to a fulsome volume in the freezing process, Icees balloon to dramatic heights in the cup to offer two distinct modes of consumption: suction and spoonage. The cherry flavor bursts forth with a delightful tang, yet doesn't overpower with cloying sugary excess. Just as the incorporation of oxygen into cream creates a whipped foam with textural properties surpassing that of cream alone, so too does the Icee's oxygenated and CO2-infused tumble create a product of superior body and mouth-feel.
The Slurpee aspires to Icee's lofty perch, and indeed once shared it. They are, in fact, one and the same product-- invented by a man named Omar Knedlik in the late 1950's. In 1988, however, 7-Eleven stopped manufacturing its own syrup for Slurpees. Since then, the Coca-Cola Company has been the exclusive supplier of Slurpee syrup and it's been a downhill slide. You used to be able to walk into a 7-Eleven anywhere in the country and be virtually guaranteed to find a Slurpee machine loaded with cherry syrup, its rotating chamber shooting an unblinking come-hither stare from the back wall. Today that machine is far more likely to be loaded with Coke syrup. If I want Coke, I'll buy Coke. I don't need it aerated and frozen, so that with every sip I can feel the enamel on my teeth disintegrating in the chemical acid bath. The beauty of the Slurpee was that it came in flavors that didn't exist outside of the magical, mysterious arctic wonderland of Slurpeetown.
Other Icee/Slurpee flavors NOT based on cola syrups
I ask you: what other drink comes in Watermelon? Genius!
The beauty of the Slush Puppy is that it's the salad bar of the slush world. A slush puppy doesn't come pre-mixed and pre-made for you, oh no-- you get to put it together yourself with a few squirts of syrup and a shot of ice slurry. Sure, the handy squirting guide suggests how many squirts to use for your medium cup, but c'mon-- what do they know? Those things are written by the same people who call canned chili "spicy." Pump those syrup nozzles with abandon, chum-- the slush police are on break, grabbing a donut a few aisles down. But drink fast. When this thing melts, you're facing down a cup full of liquid sugar that'll have you singing show tunes down main street.
Icee/Slurpee flavors based on cola syrups
In food parlance, we describe these products as "icky."
Ah, Dairy Queen. The Mr. Misty is from a simpler time. A time when scalliwag Dennis the Menace was somehow considered to be the perfect mascot for a purveyor of frozen treats. A time before Blizzards-- the world's most perfect frozen dessert-- rendered all of the chain's other products irrelevant. In those halcyon days, a cup full of crushed ice and flavored syrup was my treat of choice when I entered a DQ. Never mind that I invariably wound up sucking out all the syrup long before the drink was half finished, leaving a metric buttload of plain, unflavored ice in the bottom of the cup. It was a simpler time, and it was enough. Today, if I walk into a DQ you can be damn sure I'm coming out with a large Oreo Blizzard firmly in hand. Nirvana.