How to Make Bart Simpson’s Squishee (Crushed Ice Drink)

Updated on January 20, 2020
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Scientist and author, Beth enjoys living life in the slow lane. She takes time to enjoy the little things in life.

The Simpson family on their couch: Homer, Marge with baby Maggie, Lisa, and Bart.
The Simpson family on their couch: Homer, Marge with baby Maggie, Lisa, and Bart. | Source

Bart Loves a Squishee From the Kwik-E-Mart

If you’re a fan of The Simpsons TV show, you’ll know all about Apu’s iced drink machine. An animated sitcom, The Simpsons follows a dysfunctional middle-class American family through the ups and downs of suburban life. They are an average family, so they have exactly 2.4 children. The family consists of parents Homer and Marge, 10-year old Bart, 8-year old Lisa, and toddler Maggie.

Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is the owner of the local Kwik-E Mart, and he has a squishee maker at the front of his store. Bart (the eldest of the Simpson kids), and his pal, Millhouse, love to pester Apu. They enjoy the sugar high they get from a squishee (also known as a squishy or slushy), a type of crushed ice drink similar to an Italian granita ice but with more liquid.

Bart’s dream super squishee is made only from syrup and no water. You can see the mind-bending results of drinking one of these in the video below. A normal squishee is diluted with lots of water. The drink is made using either real fruit juice or one of the commercially available syrups.

Bart and Millhouse Go Crazy With a Super Squishee

How Do Branded Slushy Makers Work?

Commercial squishy or slushy makers boast they can make any drink into crushed ice without adding ice to the drink. They also do not need to put the drink into a freezer and then crush the resultant ice block in a food blender.

Instead, they use a branded frozen cube which when added to the drink causes it to ice up without dilution or the use of a freezer on the drink itself. The manufacturers have used science and turned it into a nice little earner for themselves.

A crushed ice frozen soft drink has many different names; Slurpy, Slurpee, Squishy, Squishee, Brain Freezer, Slushy, and ICEE.
A crushed ice frozen soft drink has many different names; Slurpy, Slurpee, Squishy, Squishee, Brain Freezer, Slushy, and ICEE. | Source

The Science Bit: How Do You Make a Squishee?

Making a squishee is a practical application of the physics and chemistry you learned at school, but thought you would never use.

Water freezes at zero degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). However, if water contains impurities, the temperature at which the liquid freezes is lowered. The foreign particles disrupt the formation of ice crystals, and so it remains liquid for longer; i.e., the impure water will not freeze until its temperature is reduced further (below the normal freezing point for H20).

Inside each slushy-making cube (or between the inner and outer walls of a special slushy cup) is therefore not pure water, but water plus something else. For commercial reasons, manufacturers don’t make public what the extra ingredient is, but I would guess it’s something like salt. For safety reasons the added ingredient needs to be something edible in case the walls of the special cube should break and spill.

To make a squishee, the special cube or cup is placed in a freezer. When frozen solid, it is put into a shaker with some soft drink or syrup to be converted into a crushed ice drink.

The temperature of the frozen cube or cup is now below the normal freezing point of water. Water is the main constituent of the soda or squash that is being turned into a squishy or slushy. As the shaker is agitated, the cold from the frozen cube is transferred into the soft drink.

The cube’s liquid has impurities in it, and this keeps its temperature below that of the beverage liquid into which it has been placed. The liquid of the syrup drink or soda therefore freezes into a crushed ice beverage.

3 Ways to Make a Squishy, Slurpy, or Slushy

  1. A squishy can be made using a squishy or slushy dispensing machine. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has one of these in his store. The machine cools the syrup mix and achieves the required slushy consistency without the need to add extra ice to the mixture. This is due to the wonders of science (see above).
  2. Using the same technique, you can also make a DIY version (see instructions, below).
  3. For a quick DIY method, use a branded slushy maker cup (I've linked to my favorite brand, below).

How to Make a Homemade DIY Slushy "Cube"

If you don’t want to buy a commercial slushy maker you can make your own quite easily.

What You'll Need

  • 1 small, strong freezer bag
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Tap water

Method

  1. Fill up the freezer bag with tap water. Add the salt to the water.
  2. The bag needs to be small enough so that when frozen it will fit inside a drinking cup (or a jug if you are intending to make a larger quantity of squishy.)
  3. Tie the top of the bag and place it in the freezer.
  4. Once the water has frozen solid you are ready to make your slushy drink.
  5. Use either freshly squeezed fruit juice (orange or apple juice are ideal), or a store-bought slushy syrup. Fill a drinking cup or glass two thirds full with the juice or syrup.
  6. Take the frozen water bag out of the freezer and dunk it into the juice or syrup. Shake the iced “cube” in the juice or syrup to turn them into a crushed ice drink. It may take a couple of minutes, but it does work. Be careful that your dunking is not too enthusiastic as the freezer bag may not withstand vigorous shaking.

This is a crushed ice drinking contest in Canada. The person who finishes their slurpee first is the winner. The drink is not known as a "brain freezer" for nothing!
This is a crushed ice drinking contest in Canada. The person who finishes their slurpee first is the winner. The drink is not known as a "brain freezer" for nothing! | Source

Quick DIY Method Using a Slushy Maker Cup

If the true DIY method sounds a bit too fiddly, you can also make a slushy or squishy at home by buying a branded slushy cup. This is my preferred method for making crushed ice drinks. It’s quicker and more reliable than the back-to-basics method described above.

Keep the cup in the freezer so that the liquid between the inner and outer sleeve is frozen ready for use. When you want to make your beverage, pour fruit juice or soda into the container. Massage it to transfer the coldness into the drink, and hey presto, you have a crushed ice drink in under a minute.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Submit a Comment
  • Eurofile profile image

    Liz Westwood 

    5 weeks ago from UK

    My kids used to love these. I wish I had read these tips then.

  • Cheryl E Preston profile image

    Cheryl E Preston 

    5 weeks ago from Roanoke

    What a great idea. Thanks.

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