In a list of guilty pleasures about a mile long, two things rise to the top. First, the TV show Glee. Second, the slushie: a brain freeze-inducing, icy concoction sold at most convenience stores and movie theaters. Lucky for us, we can (sort of) enjoy both while watching the TV show's teenage characters drench one another in a hormone-fueled, “Big Quench” slushie rage.
It was during one such episode that we considered revisiting the icy treat, putting the TV on pause to wonder where one might find the best slushie in L.A. So it's in that spirit of competition that we introduce our very own Glee-inspired slushie food fight: ICEE vs. Slurpee.
We started with the original “Coldest Drink in Town,” the ICEE. We found it at a movie theatre packaged in the glory of its super-sized retro cup, complete with snow-capped lettered logo, an ice-skating polar bear mascot, alternating blue and red stripes, and signature clear domed lid. While the ICEE comes in a variety of “modern” flavors including blue strawberry, grapalicious, green apple and even bubble gum, we went for the original: cherry.
One determined sip of the fluorescent red, half-frozen, half-carbonated slushie through its extra-long spoon/straw hybrid took us back to the hot summer days of childhood, when we slid down Slip n' Slides and biked recklessly through the streets while dreading the inevitable alcoholic sting of Bactine. Another cheek-sucking sip brought back a long-forgotten foe: brain freeze. Shaking it off but wanting another sip before the drink melted, we remembered why we love the ICEE to begin with: it's fun, refreshing and a race to the finish.
Then we moved on to the Slurpee, a similar slushie that, well, just feels different. First of all, Slurpee's are exclusive to 7-Eleven convenience stores. So you have to make a special stop to get them, unless you're already in the market for a chili-filled taquito or rotating hot dog. The self-serve machines that originally dispensed one-note Pepsi and cherry flavors now carry Halloween-themed Wicked Apple, a variety of Fanta soda slushies and a sugar-free Crystal Light peach mango fusion.
The designer cups change patterns to maintain their “cool factor,” currently sporting a swirling pattern reminiscent of a technicolor Twilight Zone. We chose a Fanta Wild Cherry flavor that ironically, tasted nearly identical to its ICEE counterpart. The biggest difference was a result of choosing a smaller portion size, as we were able to sip and swirl without risk of a literal meltdown.
Find out the winner after the jump.
So which slushie reigns supreme? It's a tie. The ICEE and Slurpee are literally the exact same deliciously frosty product. Thanks to some digging on our part — thanks Wikipedia — we learned that the “slushie” was originally named ICEE, but 7-Eleven later bought it and changed its name to Slurpee. Today, only Slurpees are sold in 7-Eleven stores but ICEEs are sold, well, pretty much everywhere else. The more you know.