What Do Frozen Drink Machines Offer?

Grindmaster Commercial Frozen Drink Machine

Back in the old days, they used to bring enormous blocks of ice in on horse cart and bury them under hay in underground sheds. Be thankful that you have a freezer, and maybe even an automatic ice-maker. So why not take advantage of it this summer? If you’re a slushie addict or a frappuccino fan, or if you can’t even pass by a Mexican restaurant without stopping in for a frozen margarita, you need to start looking at frozen drink machines for your house, stat.

A lot of people think it’s a silly idea. “Isn’t it just a fancy blender?” they complain. Well, isn’t a blender just a fancy cutting board? A machine specifically designed to create frozen drinks is clearly going to perform much better than machine that’s not. Here are some of the types of machines currently on the market.

Entry-Level Shavers/Mixers

With entry-level frozen drink machines ($100 or lower) you’ll get all of the basics required to make a perfect margarita, daiquiri, or other drink. They’re extremely easy to use – just dump everything into the pitcher – but they’re better than blenders because they have many or all of the following features: special ice-shaving blades for a consistently smooth texture, an insulated pitcher to keep your drinks frosty, a spigot for easy serving, and a large capacity (up to a gallon or more) so the party never stops. You can find these machines for as low as $20 and as high as $150.

Specialized Mixing Machines

Mid-range frozen drink machines in the $150-$250 range is a big step up from an entry-level machine. They still look like blenders, but they’re really smart blenders. A mid-range machine has a separate ice reservoir with a drain so that melted ice doesn’t end up diluting your drink. The machine shaves just enough ice to mix the number of drinks you select, which ensures a good ratio of liquid to ice, and because you can select the number of drinks you want to make, unused mixed drinks and shaved ice won’t sit there melting. However, because the ice is in a separate reservoir on top, pitcher capacity is usually smaller, typically 36 oz.

Bartender/Blender Replacements

High-end frozen drink machines over $250 are even more powerful. Many of these machines include pre-programmed settings, which control when the ice is shaved and how much blending should occur. For instance, a smoothie with lots of fresh fruit needs to be well-blended before the ice is added, but an fruit-free margarita needs minimal blending time. The best frozen drink machines also have settings for additional drink customization, such as a shave-only ice cycle for frostier drinks and snow cones, or a blend-only option for special mixes. In fact, high-end frozen drink machines can replace your blender all together. Maybe that’s why the blender folks think they’re so silly.