Beer, hard seltzer and other spirits take center stage in spiked slushies — summer’s coolest drink trend

Drinkers — both at-home and at restaurants — are moving beyond margaritas and frose and adding beer, hard seltzer and other booze to their alcoholic slushie repertoire.

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Nothing screams summer beverage like a slushie. Beer and hard cider varieties are all the rage this year.

Nothing screams summer beverage like a slushie. Beer and hard cider varieties are all the rage this year.

stock.adobe.com

Alcoholic slushies provide one way to chill out amid a socially distanced summer. They can be made at home, typically requiring little more than a boozy base, mixer, ice and a blender. In the midst of a year that’s a whole bunch of dreadful,they’re something newand refreshing.

Now, drinkers — both at-home and at restaurants — are moving beyond margaritas and frose and adding beer, hard seltzer and other boozeto their alcoholic slushie repertoire.

ChefCat Corashareda recipe for a White Claw slushie (made using a lime, frozen mangos, a White Claw and ice) in May, in line with a rising interest for a ”hard seltzer slushie” on the internet. According to Google Trends, intrigue on the search engine hit a dramatic spike the week of April 12, with the most number of searches occurring the week of July 12.

Pinterest searches for slushies increased dramatically compared to last year, withpineapple rum slush (up 700%) andmoscato slushie (up 250%) leading the way.Searches for a vodka lemonade slushies,whisky slush and candy-topped alcoholic slushieshave also risenin popularity, according toPinterest rep Erika Berg.

Businesses are also adopting new boozy bases to get in on the slushie trend.

Eric Schmidt, owner ofOrange & Brew Bottle Shop and Tap Roomin Downers Grove, broughta slushie machine into his establishment in late June to offset “the COVID craziness.” He hoped themachine would help differentiate his business and allow Orange & Brew to “recoup some of the money that everybody’s been losingand just have some fun.”

Schmidt says his business didn’t have to actually close amid the outbreak, because it has a retail component, but profit margins decreased.Schmidt says slushies also appealed to himsince, in June, people were not permitted to drink inside. He says his villageblocked off outdoors space, where he was able to put out tables.

“You’ve got patio weather, you’ve got slushies,” he says.”Everything really worked together for that.”

Orange & Brew has created aFrappuccino-like drink withPabst 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 salesare “steady” and customers have come in looking for the drink, attracting a wider audience than their typicalcraft 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.

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 Maythat offers a menu of 20 rotating slushies made withmalt-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 cannot be consumed at Shangy’s.

Like Orange & Brew,Slushee King has seen success with a beer slushie.Hadian says his current top-seller is a slushie made withDelirium Red, a Belgian fruit ale fromHuyghe 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.”

Read more at usatoday.com

The “Foreign Exchange” beer slushie at Orange & Brew Bottle Shop and Tap Room in Downers Grove. | Courtesy Orange & Brew Bottle Shop and Tap Room

The “Foreign Exchange” beer slushie at Orange & Brew Bottle Shop and Tap Room in Downers Grove.

Courtesy Orange & Brew Bottle Shop and Tap Room

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