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Shaved ice is crushing it

Meet slush

Also known as a slushy or by an array of branded beverage names, slush is a flavored frozen concoction of sugar and water.

Learn its backstory

For imbibers, summer is all about frose, the icy version of pink-hued wine. But interest in slush isn’t limited to the adult beverage sector: An increasing number of retailers are pushing their versions of the popular seasonal treat.

Long before slush, there was shaved ice, an ancient Asian refresher that’s the specialty of the soon-to-open Ice Bing. But the spread of ice-based beverages was for many years inhibited by the difficulties of storing ice without refrigeration. In early America, ice was pried from ponds and shipped south to wealthy buyers with their own icehouses.

While living in Apalachicola, Florida, physician John Gorrie was moved to invent an icemaker by the prevailing belief that yellow fever patients would fare better in cooled rooms. But his 1844 machine was opposed by ice shipping titans; artificial ice didn’t dominate the market until the late 19th century. By the 1920s, when the first electric blenders were introduced, ice was widely available.

Within a few decades, Americans were mixing frozen drinks at home. But the 1950s also saw the invention of the first frozen drink machine, intended to combine the best qualities of ice cream freezers and soda fountains. Convenience store 7-Eleven in 1965 licensed the technology, facilitating the Slurpees which in 1971 inspired a Dallas restaurateur to create a frozen margarita machine.

Nowadays, though, overheated customers don’t have to visit a convenience store or belly up to a Tex-Mex bar to enjoy slush or other icy sweets, such as granita, Italian ice, water ice or snow cones. “Could this be the year of the slush?,” Nation’s Restaurant News last month asked in its report from the National Restaurant Association show.

And order it here

Sunset Slush of the Lowcountry, 155 Main Road, John's Island, 843-628-3618,

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Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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