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Based on the idea behind this question on the physics sister site to this site, how can I process ice to create a drinkable ice slurry? When I stick ice cubes and water in the blender, the ice shards re-solidify into a block that makes it impossible to get into my mouth, let alone swallow.

Is there some sort of additive that I can put in my ice slurry to prevent the ice from re-solidifying? Preferably low calorie or healthy? Perhaps something that lowers the freezing point of water, but doesn't do it so aggressively that it causes the average temperature of the water to drop too low.

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Do you consider a tiny amount of alcohol 'healthy'? –  rfusca Jan 3 '12 at 5:15
    
Interesting idea. –  Ross Rogers Jan 3 '12 at 6:45

2 Answers 2

When you mix it, you're bringing everything to the same temperature, and if the amount of heat in your mixture isn't enough to bring all the ice up to 0C before all the water freezes, you're going to get a block of ice.

You could be careful about it, and figure out the temperature of your ice and your water, and get the right amounts, and perhaps even use warmer water (or warmer ice). But you can also just use less ice per water, and that's easy. Simply start with water and add ice, blending as you go, until you have the amount of ice and water that you want, stopping before you add so much that you just get solid ice. Once you've done it once, you'll have an idea how much ice and liquid to start with.

I don't really see why you'd bother lowering the freezing point. 0C is plenty cold for human consumption, and you can just as easily just use more water and less ice. If you do add things for flavor like alcohol, sugar, or anything with fat (e.g. dairy) then you will end up lowering the freezing point, and possibly making it softer when it's almost frozen, but this doesn't really affect the fact that you want to get it to the ideal temperature by controlling the temperature as you create it.

(Note that a smoothie is basically an ice slurry, with a lot of other stuff in it, and they're made just like this - blended with an amount of ice that can't freeze the whole mixture.)

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I was just commenting that I don't want a solute that would lower the freezing point too much. Adding salt to create the salinity of the ocean will lower the mixture to a temperature of ~28F because some of the ice will become water which sucks up a ton of energy during the dynamic equilibrium chemical process. –  Ross Rogers Jan 3 '12 at 6:47
    
@RossRogers: Yes, I understand freezing point lowering. I'm just saying I don't think it gets you any benefit in this context. It may be that some ingredients you add for flavor happen to lower the freezing point, in which case you'll want them in before you do your temperature balancing, but I don't think you'd add them just for the sake of lowering the freezing point. –  Jefromi Jan 3 '12 at 14:20

This is more 'technique' than additive, but using an electric ice cream maker like this will churn your drink into a nice 'slurry'. The action of the paddles will cause your liquid to form into small crystals. The addition of alcohol (as @rfusca suggests) will help with this.

Along the same lines there are more high end versions like this drink maker that can be rented economically.

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Good ideas! I'm experimenting with my blender more, but I'll give this a go if I see an icecream maker at a garage sale. Thanks! –  Ross Rogers Jan 4 '12 at 17:25

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