Slush trends 2023 have seen both exciting and exotic iced drinks popping up for all ages and at all venues.
These playful creations not only evoke feelings of nostalgia and offer an exciting drinking experience with visual appeal, but can also even align with wellness trends – turning the traditional high-sugar, artificially-elevated slush on its head.
Slushies offer fun, frivolity, flavour and, crucially, affordability in the face of a cost-of-living crisis and the sometimes-disappointing British summer weather.
Iced drinks hold year-round appeal too, with Starbucks seeing 75% of its US sales come from cold drinks in the last quarter*.
Slush trends 2023 have been driven by creative developments and there are plenty more opportunities ahead, particularly for alcoholic, energy and healthy slushies.
Alcoholic slushies suit less-is-more drinking trends as well as offering the all-important aesthetics for sharing on socials. Healthy slushies use fresh fruits in place of traditional artificial flavours and colours to offer hydration, vitamins, minerals and fibre alongside bold colours and full flavours. Also aligning with wellness trends, energy slushies liven up the cool drinks with added caffeine or taurine. Read on to learn more about slush trends 2023.
*As reported by The Food People
Alcoholic slushies have been a key driver for the category.
As kitsch 70s and 80s style cocktails continue to be popular, these invariably suit the slush trend – think iced Pina Coladas and bold Blue Hawaiis. Many venues have opted to twist cocktail slushes into ‘sophisticated naff’ by giving the retro favourites a high-end edge. TikTokers have elevated the classic blue slush using Au’s blue raspberry vodka served in expensive-looking glassware, for example.
Nando’s added frozen cocktails to its menu at the start of the summer too, showing just how mainstream the slushie now is. And cocktail slushes were perfectly suited to the Barbie-core aesthetic that boomed in the wake of the summer’s hit film.
The 2017 trend for frosés has endured and evolved as slush trends have become better established. Stylish wine slush creations use red, white or sparkling varieties through crushed ice and topped with fruits and florals. Soho cocktail bar Swift offers a stylish Sgroppino, combining lemon sorbet, elderflower and prosecco.
For low calorie cocktail slushes hard seltzers are ideal. While they lose their usual fizz when frozen, they retain all their flavour.
While slushies main aim might typically be fun, they can put the fun into functional too, using whole fruits and extras like energy or protein boosts.
Slushies using whole fruits help to tick off the all-important five-a-day, adding fibre and nutrients to the hydration boost too and usually with lower sugar content than traditional slushies. Some fruits are immediately obvious for this, like watermelon and all berries or citruses, while others like cherry or mango offer a retro or trendy edge.
There’s been a buzz around energy slushies too. These super chilled drinks offer bite and vitality and are easily made up at-home or in-store. Even corner shops are in on this slush trend, with a Nottingham convenience store offering a Monster Mango Loco for refreshing energy and flavour.
Each of these types can be made compliant to the new HFSS regulations too, with low sugar and sugar-free slush syrups available.
For a cool down, protein slush offers gym-goers hydration and a healthy boost. Fitness bloggers on TikTok and Instagram have been showing off their favourite recipes. With a familiar milkshake-like aesthetic, these simply combine just two or three ingredients – add protein powder to ice and water for a perfect post-workout treat that’s functional too.
Unusual & Creative slushies
This category typically doesn’t take itself too seriously, playing to its fun and retro foundations and prompting brands and slush fans to create some more unusual slush flavours.
Soft drink flavours are still key to the category, for a fizzy slush with familiar flavour. Slush Puppie has an Iron Brew flavour for a nostalgic feel while Vimto and cola flavours maximise the ‘little luxury’ feel of the fizzy slush.
The candy slush takes this a step further, elevating the drink. Tea houses, sweet shops and ice cream stores are leading this slush trend making vibrant drinks that have to be shared on socials.
Sweet Scoops eateries in London have a bright blue candy slush in bubblegum flavour while Canada’s Nick & Joe stores go all-in with candy topped creations using sour sweets, jellies and more.
Cream-topped or cream-filled slushies are popular in the US too, thanks to their retro look, reminiscent of ice cream floats, and complementary flavours for a range of fruit slush flavours.
Tea flavoured slushies offer tea flavours offer a cool caffeine hit – perfect for when even the British summer isn’t ideal for a warming cup of traditional tea. Using English tea, Thai tea, fruit teas and matcha these elevate the traditional iced tea. Straddling a few slush trends, Bubble CiTea’s dozens of stores offer a dirty milk tea slush, lined with brown sugar drizzle and topped with fresh milk and tapioca pearls.
Watermelon has been the biggest summer slush flavour. With a high water content the fruit freezes very well and its flavours pair perfectly with extra additions like mint, cucumber and berries.
Berries like Blueberry, Strawberry and Raspberry are also key slush flavours, with the latter typically retaining its natural colours for sophisticated drinks, over the traditional bold blue raspberry slushies of childhood.
For brightly-coloured slushies, Mango gives a vibrant hue and tropical appeal. Like watermelon, its high water content and versatility with other flavours – including papaya, passionfruit, berries and citruses – make it a practical and delicious base flavour.
For the most refreshing slushies, citrus flavours, not least Lemon, are a must, giving some sour edge to the cooling feel. Spanish Caravan in Liverpool has a limoncello and passionfruit cocktail slush.
At Simpsons we are experts in the development and manufacture of slush syrups. Our slush flavours made using 45% real fruit comply with UK school food standards too, available in Strawberry, Orange & Mango, Apple & Blackcurrant, and Tropical flavours.
Chat to our team today to capitalise on the latest and emerging slush trends.
Image source: Trendhub The Food People 2023