You don’t have to be young to enjoy sipping the cool, refreshing sweetness of a frozen slushy. Even grown ups yearning for the sentimental frosty treat of childhood try to make it feel more adult by adding alcohol. But the syrupy sweetness of a great frozen drink appeals to everyone with even a slight sweet tooth regardless of the temperature outside, and the options have expanded over the past few decades.
The first frozen beverage is credited in 1959 to Omar Knedlik, an owner of a Dairy Queen franchise. Necessity is the mother of invention. While an Icee or Slurpee was not a necessity for Omar, his lack of a soda fountain had him storing sodas in the store’s freezer and selling them with a straw. The semi-frozen, slushy sodas became a customer favorite and Omar began experimenting with ways to create a machine that would make the beverage faster. Early iterations used a car air conditioning system to produce slushy carbonated beverages. The first Icee machine was born of his experiments and blossomed into the popular Icee and later became 7-11’s Slurpee.
The frozen beverage machine has seen a few evolutions since 1959 and has grown into a rather large, competitive market. With designs from single pitcher, household blenders up to triple barrelled models and even designs with computerized control panelled systems, the market is constantly evolving to meet the demands of its customers. Improving on everything from the refrigeration to the control panels to the basic appearance of the machine, companies compete to innovate their systems, increase their customers’ profitability, attract new customers and maybe even win an award or two.
Allowing for multiple flavors to entice every taste bud, amusement parks, movie theaters, even convenience and gas station stores have opted in on selling frozen drinks to their customers. Widely used self-service, easy to operate machines allow consumers to mix their favorite flavors to create their own personalized drink. Party planners have even concocted adult versions of the treat by adding their favorite alcohol. Popular varieties include Captain Morgan and frozen coke, frozen Hawaiian Punch and grain alcohol or frozen Mountain Dew and scotch. Whether you are drinking frozen beverages as they were intended – straight from the spout, mixing multiple flavors to create your own medley, or spiking the syrupy treat with your favorite spirits, a good slushy machine will make for a more enjoyable experience.
But what actually makes a great frozen beverage machine? Some people like their drinks with tiny chunks of ice, some like the ice fine, smooth and fluffy. Regardless of your slushy consistency preference, all frozen beverage machines basically function in a similar fashion. Sweet flavored syrup concentrate is mixed with filtered water, and then frozen by a cooling cylinder. There are two types of frozen beverages – carbonated and non-carbonated. Carbonated varieties have a pressure chamber to add carbon dioxide to the syrup mixture which, along with the sugar and a constant stirring, act as an antifreeze to help prevent it from freezing solid so it can easily be dispensed and consumed through a straw. Non-carbonated versions can use real fruit juices in lieu of the syrup mixture. The mixture, either the syrup or juice, is then pushed into a chamber where it is rotated around coils and scraped off the walls to keep it from freezing into an ice mass until it is dispensed for the consumer to enjoy.
Modernizing the frozen carbonated beverage machine is Cornelius, a leader in beverage and ice dispensers. With its Viper Elite, Cornelius has not only updated to a sleeker, more current look with an easier cleaning experience, but the machine’s new pressure transducer allows for changes to ingredients like syrups, making it future ready. Most notable with this upgraded machine is the Viper’s Intelligent Defrost™ feature which along with a high-capacity refrigeration system, reduces energy use as well as stress on the compressor by eliminating the defrost cycle.
One of a good business’ concerns owning a frozen beverage machine is contaminants in the condenser. A clogged condenser can compromise the function of the condenser, preventing steady refrigeration and increased energy bills. Keeping out dust and debris is how a good filter keeps the refrigeration unit consistently cooling the frozen beverage even on the most demanding of summer days. A strong, sanitary condenser filter is key to keeping a slushy machine working optimally. Universal Air Filter offers exactly what is needed. With a variety of options and even the ability to customize to your system, UAF brings quality engineering to all of its filters, and to any refrigeration system.