How to Make Your Own Slushie MixLast updated on 4/01/2022
Slushies are loved by customers of all ages, which makes them a great addition to the menu when you want to boost impulse sales. With the right commercial slushie machine, these frozen drinks are easy to make and even easier to sell. But did you know you can make your own slushie syrup mixes? Outdo your competition and mix up gourmet slush syrups that help you stand out from the crowd. We’ll teach you how to use the Brix scale and a simple tool called a refractometer to make sure your slushies turn out perfectly every time.
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What Is the Brix Scale?
The Brix scale is a measurement system used in food production to express the percentage of dissolved sucrose (sugar) in a liquid solution. It's commonly used in juice production, wine making, and frozen desserts to measure the amount of sugar that's present in the recipe. One degree on the Brix scale is equal to 1 gram of sucrose per 100 grams of solution.
Why Is the Brix Scale Important?
The Brix scale is important when making frozen desserts like slushies or granitas because sugar content affects the freezing process of your slush machine mix. Too much sugar in the mix will prevent the slushie from freezing, and too little sugar will cause it to freeze into a solid mass and damage your slushie machine. By checking the Brix reading on your slushie mix before adding it to the machine, you don't have to second guess yourself or spend any time adjusting the mix as it freezes.
The ideal Brix reading for a slushie solution should fall between 13 and 15 degrees. Check the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended Brix level, because every slushie machine has different requirements. Some units will work with Brix levels as low as 11 and as high as 20. Premade slush mixes should be formulated to the correct range, but it never hurts to double check that the ratio of sugar to liquid is correct. It's even more important to check the Brix reading of your homemade slushie syrups to ensure they will freeze correctly.
What Is a Refractometer?
A Brix refractometer is a small hand-held tool that measures the Brix level of liquid solutions.
Refractometers use the principle of refraction to measure the concentration of solids in a solution. Refraction occurs when light bends as it passes from one medium to another. The number of solids present in a liquid solution will change the angle of refraction, and the refractometer measures the angle to determine the sugar content in the solution. There are several types of refractometers that measure different solids, but the Brix refractometer is designed specifically to measure sucrose content.
How To Use a Refractometer
Though the science behind them may be complex, refractometer are fairly easy to use. Follow these simple steps to determine how much sugar is in your slush machine mixture:
- First, calibrate the refractometer per the manufacturer's instruction manual.
- Mix the slush syrup and give it a good stir before testing.
- Open the cover plate on the end of the refractometer.
- Use a pipette or liquid dropper to drop a couple drops of slush solution onto the angled prism.
- Close the cover plate tightly.
- Point the refractometer towards a light source and look through the eyepiece.
- The Brix scale will be visible. To read the scale, look for the point where the illuminated portion meets the dark portion.
- If the Brix reading is between 13% and 15%, your slushie mix is just right.
- If the Brix reading is below 13%, add more sugar to the mix and try again.
- If the Brix reading is above 15%, add more water to the mix and try again.
- Clean the prism surface with a damp cloth after use and air dry.
Slush Machine Mix Ratio
Premade slushie syrup is concentrated, so it needs to be mixed with water before adding it to the slush machine. Every brand has their own ratio, but most mixes are either 1:4 or 1:5. This means for every 1 cup of syrup, you need to add 4 or 5 cups of water to the mix. Make sure to read the instructions on the mix and use the ratio as your guide.
If you want to add other ingredients or syrups, try replacing a part of the premade syrup in the ratio. For example, instead of adding 1 cup premade syrup, try 1/2 cup flavoring syrup + 1/2 cup premade syrup. Because the sugar content of other syrups will be different than the premade slush syrup, you need a refractometer to make the perfect mix.
Can You Add Alcohol to a Slush Machine?
Some slush machines are rated to work with alcohol, but it depends on the manufacturer. Read the manufacturer's guidelines concerning alcohol before making adult slushies.
Does Alcohol Affect the Brix Reading?
Yes, alcohol affects the Brix reading. Adding alcohol to the mix will cause the Brix reading to be higher, which means it will take longer to freeze. Using a refractometer is the best way to make sure your boozy slush mixes freeze properly.
Slush Machine Recipes
Try experimenting with syrups and flavorings to create gourmet slushies! There are many different types of flavoring syrups you can use, but avoid anything with dairy ingredients unless your machine is rated to work with dairy.
Neutral slush syrup makes it easy to create your own flavor combinations. Mix the neutral syrup with water to create the slushie base, then add the flavors below. Before adding the mix to your machine, test the sugar content with a refractometer. As long as your Brix measurement falls between 13% and 15%, the slushie will freeze to the perfect consistency.
Try these unique combinations:
- Wedding Cake: Almond + White Chocolate + Vanilla
- Chocolate Covered Cherry: Cherry + Chocolate
- Lemon Chiffon: Lemon + Vanilla + White Chocolate
- Nutella: Chocolate + Hazelnut
- Amaretto Cacao: Almond + Chocolate + French Vanilla
- Summertime Sangria: Blackberry + Peach + Elderflower
- Tropical Smash: Coconut + Pineapple + Basil
- Lavender Lemonade Cooler: Lemon + Lavender
- Banoffee: Banana + Toffee + Coffee
Using a refractometer to test your slush syrup mix is a quick, easy way to make the best slushies. It's especially helpful if you are mixing your own syrups. If the brix reading is right, the consistency of your slushies will be smooth and sippable.