With or without booze, this icy beverage tastes just like summer
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“There’s no way I’m giving you my slushy recipe, “ my mom said, “you’ll probably put booze in it.” Up until that exact moment, adding booze to the mix actually hadn’t occurred to me. But now? New slush-based summer beverage options opened up before me, slowly unfolding like one of the long and lazy afternoons that seem to require them.
It would be another few years until I managed to get the actual recipe for summer slush out of my mom, though, and until I turned 21 it was a closely guarded family secret—one that I'm sharing with the whole world today.
• 3 1/2 cups warm water
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple
• 6 oz (half a can) of frozen lemonade concentrate
• 6 oz (half a can) of frozen orange juice concentrate
• 3 sliced up bananas
• 8 oz (or more) of frozen, pre sliced strawberries
• 7 Up or Sprite to top
1.) To a large freezer safe container or bowl add the warm water and sugar and stir until the sugar mostly dissolves. Then add the can of crushed pineapple (and all the juices) and the frozen orange juice and lemonade.
2.) Stir the mixture until the concentrated juice has all dissolved. Add the bananas and the strawberries, stir again to combine and put in the freezer for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
3.) Pull the frozen slush out about an hour before you’re ready to eat and let it thaw slightly to make it easier to scoop.
4.) Using an ice cream scoop, scoop as much of the slush mix as you’d like into a glass and then top with 7 Up or Sprite. If you’d like it less sugary, topping with seltzer or club soda would also work.
If you want to adultify your slush, I’d recommend rum, tequila or vodka be added in moderation. Honestly, any alcohol that pairs well with sugary fruit would work and I’ve got a cousin who swears by topping slush with “the cheapest dry champagne you can find.”
When I was in high school, my family lived on the shores of Lake Ontario. Summers then were largely spent outdoors either on or next to the lake itself. If it was sunny and warm out, it was nearly certain that all four kids would don bathing suits and jump off of the end of the dock at least once during the afternoon.
We didn’t have air conditioning, and neither did most of our friends. So, if it was hot out, the lake was the best way to find some relief. And when you were done swimming in the lake as you climbed out of the water, there was my mom with a dry towel and a cold glass of fizzy fruit slush.
My mom’s fruit slush was what summer tasted like to me for many, many years. So, of course, when it came time for me to head off to college I desperately wanted to bring my mom’s slush recipe with me. If I wasn’t going to be home, the least I could do is bring some home with me—right, Mom?
She wasn’t having any of that. At. All. So, maybe she had reason to suspect I would try to mix booze with her delicious summer concoction. But—God as my witness—the thought hadn't occurred until she pointed out the possibility. And from that point on I was obsessed.
If I were home and knew she was going to make a batch, I’d try and spy on her from a room or so away and note the ingredients. She always caught me. I rifled her recipe card collection hoping I could find it when she wasn’t around. She didn’t write it down. I checked every cookbook and all the recipe issues of Better Homes and Gardens she had hanging around. It wasn’t printed in any of them.
When I graduated from college—well after turning the legal drinking age—my mom presented me with a gift. It was a small, spiral-bound book. Inside were many of my favorite childhood recipes—from my Mom's waffles to my Dad's ribs—all written by hand. As I thumbed through the "greatest hits" of my childhood meals, I found it—close to the back and lumped in with the rest of the desserts.
I immediately looked up, eyes wide. My mother just smiled at me. “Don’t do anything stupid,” she said.
So I immediately went home and made slush for all of my housemates, and we debated for close to ten minutes before finally deciding that, yeah, rum would probably be best.
You also could add more berries/fruit if you’d like. As I’ve gotten further from my college years, I find I don’t actually like it nearly as sweet, so when I make it now I typically make it with half as much or none of the white sugar at all. I’d recommend you try whatever you like! Just do me a favor and don’t tell my mom, ok?
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