The Last Icy Treat of Summer: Kelvin Slush


Somber and scientific Kelvin Slush recently parked at 22nd Street and Fifth Avenue, but today, who knows?

Over the last summer we’ve seen a race to develop new types of frozen treats, pursued with as much fervor as the American-Russian Space Race of the 1960s. We’ve seen the popsicle reinvented, soft-serve espousing a gay sexual preference developed, more gelatos and ice creams than we can name squirted out, and even frozen-cake-on-a-stick mounted — which was promised, but never quite materialized.

My favorite permutation is the plain ginger base, because it’s not too sweet.

Could there be a neglected sector of this thronged market? Yes, and its generic name is slushy. In a form perfected by 7-Eleven’s Slurpee,the slushy is an ice-based, non-milk-containing, soda-flavored beverage that maintains a loose consistency, so it slides down the throat as easily as a soda, but bearing micro-crystals of ice. The Slurpee’s only competitor has been another bodega-based product called the Slush Puppie, which, in contrast, usually offers fruit flavors.

Naturally, the artificial flavoring scheme of 7-Eleven is not fit for the sophisticated slushy eater, so a revamped version was due. That has been provided by a truck named Kelvin Natural Slush Company. The gray truck is rather somber and scientific, suggesting some sort of chemistry lab inside. And, indeed, the beverage is named after William Thompson, also known as Baron Kelvin, the 19th-century Northern Irish engineer who discovered absolute zero, the lowest temperature that matter can attain (approximately negative-460 degrees Fahrenheit).


The bill of fare at Kelvin Slush.

The Kelvin slushy begins with one of three base slushes: ginger, citrus, or tea. To these you have the choice of adding an additional fruit flavor, as shown in the illustration.

I actually prefer Kelvin’s slush base by itself. Ginger is particularly refreshing on a hot day. When you add the fruit syrups, it gets too sweet for me.

Still, as with the original Slurpee and Slush Puppie, the drawback of the genre becomes obvious after a few slugs: brain freeze, which starts from the soft palate and sends its icy tentacles directly into your sinuses and gray matter.

Track the truck at or on Twitter @kelvinslush.