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What is a cherry slushie made of?

A cherry slushie is a delicious frozen drink made by blending together cherry syrup, ice, and water. It has a sweet cherry flavor and a refreshing slushy texture. Cherry slushies are a popular summertime treat that can be found at many convenience stores, movie theaters, and restaurants. But what exactly goes into making this cold, vibrant red beverage? Here is a comprehensive look at the main ingredients and how they come together to create the perfect cherry slushie.

Cherry Syrup

The key ingredient that gives cherry slushies their distinct cherry taste is the cherry syrup. This is a concentrated, sugary liquid that contains natural and/or artificial cherry flavors. The bright red syrup provides the sweetness and cherry flavor. Most places use commercially produced cherry syrup that comes in large containers to be used with their slushie machines. However, some make homemade cherry syrup from a simple mixture of sugar, water, cherry flavoring, red food coloring, and a bit of citric acid or lemon juice for tartness. No matter how it’s made, the syrup is then blended with ice to make the slushie. The amount of syrup used can be adjusted to control the sweetness level. More syrup yields a sweeter slushie.


Ice is the integral ingredient that gives the beverage its blended, semi-frozen slushy consistency. The type of ice used can vary. Many slushie machines utilize coarse shredded ice or small ice chips that blend up smoothly. In some cases, cubed ice or even crushed ice could be used too. The ice is packed into the slushie maker, where it is kept frozen cold. Then the flavored syrup gets poured over the ice as it blends and freezes together into the semi-solid slushie mixture. The more ice used, the thicker the beverage. Different ice to syrup ratios can create slushies of different textures.


Water is usually added when making cherry slushies too. The water helps enhance the slushy texture and dilutes the sugary syrup a bit. Just a splash of water or sometimes up to equal parts water and syrup may be used in the recipe, depending on the desired sweetness and consistency. The water combines with the syrup and ice in the blending process to develop the characteristic slushy form. Without any water, the drink would be more like a cherry ice pop versus a smooth, spoonable slushie. The water content helps achieve the drinkable semi-frozen state.


In addition to the basic cherry syrup and water, some extra flavorings might be included too. Real cherry juice or cherry extract could provide more genuine cherry taste. A squirt of lemon or lime juice can add some zing and balance out an overly sweet slushie. Other possible flavor additions might include vanilla, almond, or coconut extract for additional flavor dimensions. Some places may put their own special twist on a cherry slushie by incorporating unique ingredients like chocolate or coffee syrup too. So feel free to get creative and customize the flavors!


Bright vibrant red color is critical for a cherry slushie! The coloring typically comes from the cherry syrup, which has a natural dark pinkish hue. But most recipes will boost the color with some added red food dye or coloring. A deeper, richer ruby red color is achieved with extra dye mixed in. Without it, the slushie would look pale and unappealing. The bright cheerful red is part of what makes it so fun. A small amount of dye goes a long way, but be sure to add enough for the desired pop of color.


To ensure proper frozen beverage quality and prevent spoilage, some minor food preservatives may be used when making cherry slushies. Sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate are commonly added. Citric acid not only adds some tangy flavor, but also helps preserve the slushie mixture. Ascorbic acid or vitamin C is another preservative that’s sometimes included. Only very small amounts of natural preservative additives are needed to maintain freshness and prevent microbial growth in the machine. Always check ingredient labels for any possible preservatives.

Making the Slushie

Once you have all the necessary ingredients – cherry syrup, ice, water, and any extra flavors or color – it’s time to blend it all up into slushie goodness! Commercial slushie machines and blenders make quick work of combining everything together into the characteristic slushy form. The process only takes a couple minutes. First the ice is packed into the device. Then the flavored syrup and other liquids get poured over the ice as it blends. The churning action evenly distributes the syrup and gradually freezes everything into a semi-solid state. Scrape down the sides to fully incorporate all the ingredients. Adjust flavorings to taste. And that’s it – ready to enjoy your fresh cherry slushie!

Serving Suggestions

Cherry slushies are quite versatile beverages that can be customized in many ways for optimal enjoyment. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Try different straw types like regular, extra wide, or bubble tea straws
  • Top with whipped cream or maraschino cherries for a sundae-style treat
  • Add a shot of cherry vodka or rum for a boozy adult version
  • Mix in fresh orange juice or lemonade for a citrusy cherry twist
  • Blend with coconut cream or pineapple juice for a pina colada vibe
  • Swirl in chocolate or caramel syrups for added flavors
  • Garnish with sprinkles, chocolate chips, or crushed cookies

Get creative and come up with your own signature cherry slushie combinations!

Nutrition Information

Cherry slushies are essentially sweet frozen treats, so they are high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in other nutrients. Here is the nutrition breakdown for a 12 ounce cherry slushie:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 310
Total Fat 0 g
Sodium 40 mg
Total Carbohydrates 77 g
Sugars 75 g
Protein 0 g

As you can see, a considerable portion of the calories comes from the high sugar content. To make a healthier slushie, you can ask for less syrup, use unsweetened ice, or blend in some fresh fruit. Cherry slushies are an occasional sweet treat best enjoyed in moderation.

Fun History of Cherry Slushies

Cherry flavored slushies have a long history as a popular frozen beverage. Here are some fun historical facts about these iconic bright red treats:

  • The slushie machine was invented in the late 1950s by Omar Knedlik of Kansas, initially using a soft serve ice cream maker he owned
  • The first slushie flavors were just basic lemon-lime and cola
  • Cherry became a popular slushie flavor in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Convenience stores and movie theaters began selling slushies and drove their popularity
  • The ICEE company pioneered frozen carbonated beverages and cherry slushies
  • Slushies were sometimes called “slush puppies” referencing the slushy wet dog treat
  • The longest slushie ever made was nearly 100 gallons in 2010
  • There is a National Slurpee Day on July 11th to celebrate 7-Eleven’s famous slushies
  • variations like an “adult slushie” with alcohol have become popular in recent years

So next time you are sipping a delicious cherry slushie, appreciate it’s fun and fascinating history as an iconic summertime frozen treat we all know and love!

Where to Find the Best Cherry Slushies

Now that it’s slushie season, you may be wondering where you can get your hands on the very best cherry slushies. Here are some top spots to find awesome cherry slushies:

Convenience Stores

Popular chains like 7-Eleven and Circle K are go-to destinations for slushies in a range of flavors. Their slushie machines churn out the icy beverages all day long. Stop by any location for your cherry slush fix.

Movie Theaters

What better treat to sip on during a summer blockbuster? Movie theater concession stands offer cherry slushies in gigantic sizes to quench your thirst. AMC and Regal Cinemas typically have great slushie selections.

Fast Food Restaurants

You can often find cherry slushies on the menu at fast food joints like Burger King, Arby’s, KFC, and Chik-Fil-A. Their machines allow you to customize the flavor combinations too.

Gas Stations

When driving on a hot day, a refreshing slushie from the gas station is perfect. Truck stops and convenience marts at stations like Shell, Exxon, and BP carry an array of icy slushie options.

Theme Parks

Amusement parks in the summer always have great slushies. Spot locations at Disney World, Six Flags, Sea World, and Universal Studios to grab a cold cherry slushie while enjoying the park.

Local Restaurants

Check out diners, cafes, bowling alleys, pizza shops, and other local spots with slushie machines. You may discover some unique slushie flavors and combinations. Support small businesses for your cherry slushie satisfaction.

Wherever you prefer to get your slushie fix, you can’t go wrong chilling out with a classic cherry slushie in hand. Stay refreshed and beat the heat with this quintessential summer drink!

Best Practices for Maximizing Your Enjoyment

To fully optimize your cherry slushie experience, here are some slurping tips and best practices:

  • Use a thick straw or spoon for easier slushie sipping
  • Give it a good stir first to evenly blend the flavors
  • Add mix-ins like nerds, candy pieces, or cookies to enhance texture
  • Water it down if it’s too syrupy or sweet for your liking
  • Alternate sips with crunchy snacks like pretzels or popcorn
  • Drink slowly to avoid brain freeze – it’s not a race!
  • Pair it with a salty food like fries, hot dog, or nachos
  • Customize with extra flavor swirls or a squirt of lime
  • Skip the lid and spoon it up for a fun slushie-eating experience
  • Embrace the inevitable red-tinted mouth and lips – go big or go home!

Follow this advice and you’re sure to maximize your cherry slushie enjoyment. Slurp on, friends!

Making Your Own at Home

Want to DIY your own cherry slushie at home? It’s easy to whip up this classic treat with just a few ingredients and appliances:


  • Cherry syrup or juice
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Frozen cherries (optional)
  • Red food coloring (optional)


  1. In a small saucepan, stir together 3 cups water, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Heat over medium, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cherry syrup or juice. Add red food coloring if desired for a vibrant color. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Pour cherry mixture into blender along with 2 cups ice cubes and a handful of frozen cherries if using. Blend until smooth and slushy, about 1-2 minutes. Add more ice cubes and blend again if thicker consistency is desired.
  3. Pour slushie into a tall glass and serve with straws and spoons. Add fun toppings as desired. Enjoy!

Now you can create this nostalgic frozen treat no matter the season or weather. Stay cool and beat the heat with homemade cherry slushies!


Got slushie questions? Here are some frequently asked questions about cherry slushies:

Are cherry slushies healthy?

Cherry slushies are high in sugar and low in nutrients, so they aren’t considered healthy. But as an occasional treat in moderation, they can be part of a balanced diet. Opt for a smaller size or use low-calorie sweeteners to reduce sugar intake.

Where did the first slushie machine come from?

The original slushie machine was invented in Kansas by Omar Knedlik in the late 1950s. He initially used a soft serve ice cream maker but later engineered the first slushie specific machine.

How long do slushies last unrefrigerated?

An unrefrigerated slushie will melt and lose its consistency after about 30-45 minutes. For maximum enjoyment, focus on finishing your slushie within that timeframe or transfer to a cooler for longer storage.

Why do slushies make your head hurt?

Gulping down icy slushies too quickly can cause temporary but painful brain freeze headaches. This is caused by the quick constriction of blood vessels in your palate when exposed to extreme cold.

What is the most popular slushie flavor?

Though cherry remains iconic, the most popular slushie flavor today is Coke or Coca-Cola, given the enduring popularity of both the soda itself and Coke branded slushies.


With its sweet cherry syrup, icy texture, and vibrant red color, it’s easy to see why a cherry slushie is such a beloved and refreshing summer drink. This behind-the-scenes look covered everything that goes into crafting the perfect slushie, from key ingredients to ideal serving suggestions. Slurp down this iconic frozen treat and beat the heat with the classic cherry slushie! Don’t forget to sip slowly and savor its sweet cherry goodness.