Adventures in madness: The Beer Slushie

Last week I took my chance to pontificate a little on all things booze, and in the comments someone politely asked me if I could give some advice on how to dispose of unwanted (if you can imagine it) Barley Wine.

I said:

“…one word for you: Margarita.

You don’t like the beery flavor, but the ice, a little lime and some tequila will dry that out no problem. He doesn’t like the sweetness, but in a margarita it actually works.

And failing that, what guy has never wanted to have a beer slushie?”

Tina immediately revolted, in that she found my very suggestion to be literally revolting beyond her tolerance.  It stuck with her for so long that she actually accosted me that night after work.

“How can you go telling people things like that on the website?  Sometimes they don’t know that you’re kidding, Mike.”

“I wasn’t, though.”

“You– oh, come on.  Beer slushie?  Beer.  Slushie. Beer slushie!”

“Yeah!  I think it’d be pretty cool.  Kind of like how you forget a bottle outside and it freezes, and then you slowly nurse it for a few hours.”  I added, “Plus it’s nice to have beer that stays cold for a really long time, even if it is watery.  So it’s like light beer, but better!”

“No it isn’t,” she argued, in the sort of tone that made me feel like I was standing in favor of hourly sacrifices in a Kindergarten.  “It isn’t that at all. It’s disgusting.”

I decided that I had one final gambit:  “Have you ever tried it?” I asked.

Pause.  “No, but just the thought–”

“A-HA!”  Victory was at hand, and before I pressed my advantage too far and ended up getting in trouble, I hustled out to the beer store to procure ingredients.  Though she may think me mad, it was time to construct a beer slushie.


I would like to set my assumptions, before we get started:

  • First, what makes slushies good is that they are cold, slurpy and crunchy all at the same time.  They are what eating snow is supposed to be, instead of the shocking and upsetting experience that eating snow actually is.
  • Second, what makes slushies better is that they can be easily topped up with whatever flavor you choose — either the original flavor by tipping a soft-drink booster into it, or an incremental flavor by dumping one of those little mini-airplane bottles you have lying around.
  • Third, what makes slushies the best is that they are made with absolutely buckets of ice, and are therefore functionally endless.  An extra-large slushie cup functionally has no bottom, and only the hardiest kind of stomach can take an entire one of those.

So with all of this in mind, you can understand my motivation, though I still wish you provide an accessible primary example.  That’s why for this effort, I selected:

  • 1 (or 2) bottle(s) of so-called “White” (or wheat) beer
  • 1 clementine orange
  • 1 oz Cointreau (or Triple Sec could stand in here — any citrus liqueur)
  • Several cups of ice, to taste

The vague detail will drive Tina nuts, but slushies are to a certain extent a matter of taste.  I prefer mine to be fairly thick, so I loaded our blender approximately 3/4 full — if you’d prefer to have a thinner mix, just add a little less.  If you’d prefer a stronger drink all around, dump 2 beers into the blender instead of one.

Pour the beer (whichever quantity you select) in over your ice first, because boy howdy will it ever bubble up in there.  As the foam settles, pop in your Cointreau and then add in the orange:

Wheat beer and citrus mix together very happily, and will balance out the flavors nicely.  The Cointreau will add a very subtle spike, but the clementines will also add a bit of fruity, floral sweetness.

And if you’re at all uncomfortable with the thought that your beer-based beverage has words like “fruity” and “floral” attached to it, just remember:  beer slushie.  Your inner thirteen year-old is so proud of you.

Now, blend blend blend away, using the “Ice Crush” or closest setting that your blender will provide.  If you’ve got a little lid on your blender, I strongly recommend leaving it a little bit open so that the gas can escape — doing otherwise will risk an explosive situation. Unless you relish sucking beer out of the front of your shirt (and who wants to do that more than twice a week), it’s worth taking care.

As soon as the blade has nothing left to pulverize, you’re ready to go.

Pour out from your pitcher and into some appropriate glassware, and you are immediately downright classy.  Light, fresh, sweet and still beery, you’ll have the perfect beer slushie for one.

Yeah, who am I kidding.

There we go.   An ideal outlet for when you want something more refreshing, more fun, more validating to your inner child, or when you have a point to prove.

Whichever it is for you, now you have the perfect beer slushie for one.

  • Marcel

    you had me going with the margarita glassware there for a second Mike. Here’s my issue with slushie drinks primarily Tim Horton’s Ice Caps and Starbucks Frappucino’s but the same thing with 7-11 slurpees and I imagine beer slushies. How do you avoid sucking up all the syrupy goodness and leaving yourself with with a chunk of frozen ice at the bottom of the cup? I hate scooping out that bland leftover ice with my straw spoony thing.

    • Mike

      The joy of beer slushies is that the wee bit of alcohol in them will actually keep that depressing ice plug from forming — that’s one of the reasons that adding a shot of liqueur (aside from the flavor) is so helpful.

      I’d suggest dropping a shot of Frangelico into your Iced Caps to solve this exact problem, but too much of that might make things awkward at hockey practice on Saturday mornings.

  • Erica

    Just to clarify, you added the juice of the clementine, not the clementine itself, right?

    I’m not even really a beer lover, but the beer slushie totally appeals.

    • Mike

      Oh yeah, definitely just the juice — don’t even think of using the rind or the peel. It’s way too bitter.

  • lo

    Alright — so you’ve sold the idea of a slushie. But, my poor sensitive teeth have a difficult time with crushed ice. Do you think this would be passable as a beer margarita on the rocks??

  • Kristie

    I have a hard time with frozen drinks because they tend to hinder my drunk-getting. I can only drink ice cold liquids so fast. That’s why I’ve always been a rocks girl. But beer slushie seems like the kind of thing I’d want to drink on a summer afternoon regardless.

    What about a beer float, with maybe blue moon and peach or orange sorbet?

  • bruleeblog

    But what I really want to know is what Tina thought of the beer slushie you made. Is she a convert?

  • Hellcat13

    Ditto what bruleeblog asked.

    Oh, and can I come live at your house?

  • Tina

    I had to leave the kitchen when he was making this. I was all, “But…here, I can pass you a measuring cup if you like and……MAYBE YOU WANT TO DO IT *THIS* WAY INSTEAD, because – GAH!” Yup. There are times when I just shouldn’t be around. That said, Mike gave me ‘first sips’ of the beer slushie and despite my freshly brushed teeth I was still pleasantly surprised. It actually tasted like a cross between an orange slushie and a pint o’ wheat. So….I grudgingly give Mike two thumbs up. And yes, if he makes me a beer slushie when I get home tonight that would probably be okay with me……

  • Carolyn Jung

    I love the dichotomy of this. It looks so healthy and girly. Who’d guess there was brewski in it? Too fun!

  • Tijok

    This is amazing. I came here with this exact idea, but the addition of liquor and orange is fantastic!