A lot of people are used to slushie machines that provide consumers with flavored ice. While that may be nice to enjoy at a street fair, it’s not the most ideal solution for those looking to indulge in frozen cocktails. Imagine a frozen Jack and Coke that was made by adding whiskey and Coca-Cola to shaved ice; the product would eventually melt and become watered down, negatively altering the taste. However, this is NEVER an issue with Spaceman frozen beverage machines.
With Spaceman machines, a user adds their mixture to the machine’s hopper, then the freezing cylinder rapidly mixes and freezes the product. What you put in is what you get out, frozen to a perfect consistency slush – either drinkable or spoon-able, up to you. This makes the quality, texture, taste, and consistency superior to any other “slushie” machine on the market.
Using a Spaceman frozen beverage machine is not quite as easy as pouring Jack Daniels and Coke into the machine’s hopper, though. Continue reading to find out how you can properly turn virtually any liquid mix into a frozen drink in a Spaceman frozen beverage machine.
Know Your Brix
To start off, any mixture being added to a Spaceman frozen beverage machine should have a brix level (dissolved solids/sugar content) between 13 and 18. The best way to check your Brix level is by using a Brix refractometer like the one seen here. A brix level below 13 means you do not have enough sugar, alcohols, or solids in your mix, and may cause your machine to freeze up. An easy was to increase brix is by adding simple syrup, sugar, or liquid sugar. A brix level above 18 may have too much sugar and be difficult to freeze. You can dilute it by adding water (water has 0 brix).
Now is the fun part! Gather the ingredients that you’d like to use for your cocktail. For this example, we are going to refer to the Lemon Drop Martini we made. We knew that we wanted to use citrus vodka, triple sec, lemon juice, and simple syrup, but we knew that those 4 ingredients combined were going to spike up the brix. The best way to create a mix from scratch is by making a mini batch first, that way you can check the flavor and brix without wasting a lot of ingredients or making a mess. It’s best to start off with small proportions, such as 3 oz vodka, 1 oz triple sec, 1 oz lemon juice, and 1 oz simple syrup.
Check Your Brix / Taste Test
Now is when you check your brix. When we made this mixture, our brix level was a little too high, so we added about 2 oz of water, which made the brix just right. If your brix level is okay, you then want to taste your sample to ensure that it is not too sweet or too heavy on alcohol. If your brix level is good and it’s tasty, you’re ready to move on to step number 4!
Now you’re going to choose a number to multiply your sample size by. You want to choose a number that is going to give you 2+ gallons of product, depending on your machine capacity. Most of the time we recommend making 4-5 gallon batches (16-20 quarts). Cambro 22 qt. clear containers are perfect for this! Our total sample size was 8 oz, so if we multiply every ingredient by 60, we will get 480oz – or 15 quarts.
Make Your Full Batch
Once you have all your full batch proportions, it’s time to make the official mix! Grab a large food storage container, preferably clear, and carefully add each of the ingredients. Once they’re all combined, mix them well to ensure that the syrups and sugars are all blended. This is when you are going to test the brix with your refractometer again. The brix level should be almost identical to the sample size, but sometimes if the measurements are slightly off, some adjustments may need to be made. We recommend pre-chilling all batches and storing backups in your refrigerator or walk in so they are ready to add when needed.
Finalize Your Recipe
Once you’ve tested the brix for the last time, you may need to adjust the water and simple syrup content. The recipe we ended up with for our martini was 180 oz vodka, 60 oz triple sec, 60 oz lemon juice, 40 oz simple syrup, and 120 oz water. It was almost the exact same proportions as we calculated, but we had to lower our simple syrup amount slightly. When you’ve got the recipe perfected, you can go ahead and add the entire mix to your Spaceman machine and set it to freeze mode. Give it about 5-10 minutes and you’ll be sipping on a ~perfect~ Lemon Drop Martini. Voilà!
If you are making your own mix from scratch, it’s important to keep a few key tips in mind. If you are using alcohol, it is likely going to have a high brix level, usually above 10. Syrups such as triple sec, grenadine, lime juice, or any flavored Torani syrup are going to have an even higher brix level, usually one that you cannot even read on your refractometer. When making your batch, you should add small amounts of these syrups at a time so that you don’t send your brix level off the charts. When using juices or sodas, they tend to work as good bases. This means that their brix levels are low enough that you can afford to add in a flavored syrup and some alcohol to make it higher. Always add in water or simple syrup last since the addition of them may not be necessary.