I’m an old woman, out of touch with what the kids are doing these days. I see them texting while riding their bikes and shake my head. I hear they have video games with more than eight bits â€“ what in the world?! And the music, it all sounds like the singer is giving a robot a blowjob. I hear it’s called autotuning or something. I have a cane and a lawn, and I’m ready to shake my fist and yell at those damn meddling kids.
While much may have changed since I was a kid, I have to believe that some things remain the same. One of those things is getting on your bike and hitting the nearest convenience store with a few bucks in your pocket. I’m pretty sure every kid has stood in front of the soda or slushie machine, cup in hand, wondering what magical beverage concoction they will create next. Will it be Mr. Pibb and Squirt? Barq’s and Lipton iced tea? Coke-flavored slushie and Hawaiian Punch? Maybe it’s one of those days where you’re feeling adventurous, and everybody jumps in the pool. That last one usually ends poorly.
That said, 7-Eleven has come up with a way to capture that experience while also protecting you from the pain of poor mixing decisions. At least, that’s the idea. The Slurpee MixMaker (which I keep referring to as “MixMaster”; I think it’s a much cooler name) Cup & Straw is a fun and ingenious way to mix your flavors, or, if you’re incredibly poor at decision making, have two different drinks in the same cup! Here’s how it works:
1. Grab a Slurpee MixMaker Cup, which is made of reusable plastic and has a wall down the middle that divides the cup into two separate chambers.
2. Fill each side with whatever the heck you want. It’s called the Slurpee MixMaker, but obviously you can choose whatever cold beverage you like. I went with Fanta Wild Cherry Slurpee and Summertime Lime Slurpee, because the latter sounded like a limited edition (or at least, seasonal) flavor, and people seem to enjoy cherry limeade.
3. Pop on a disposable lid and stick your reusable MixMaker Straw through the top, so that one straw lands on either side of the wall (duh).
Let me explain how the MixMaker itself operates: the two straws meet at a central hub, out of which sprouts a small single straw that delivers flavor to your mouth. The hub is where the magic happens â€“ that adorable little representation of a Slurpee isn’t just for show. It actually rotates to the right, offering you four options: off, 1, 2, and mix.
Smart person that I am, it took me a moment to realize that trying to drink while having it in the off position was an exercise in futility. After my puny brain realized this, I started playing with the settings. I didn’t even realize they were labeled at first; the markings are so tiny that they were easy to miss. 7-Eleven is not really to blame for that; in my rush to experiment with the MixMaker before my entire Slurpee turned to liquid sugar, I neglected to read the instructions printed on the plastic wrapper that had previously enclosed the straw. Once I took a two second glance at them, things became clear.
“1″ refers to the left chamber, if you’ve got the dial facing you. In my case, 1 held Fanta Cherry. That makes 2 Summertime lime in the right chamber, with mix as, obviously, a mixture of the two.
That would be well and good and worth at least five minutes of fun, except it doesn’t quite work as advertised. There’s a little nub on the bottom of the dial that’s designed to click into a corresponding depression that determines what setting you’re on, but they’re both really small, so I had to really pay attention to feel the click that tells me it was locked into a setting.
Further complications ensued. On the mix setting, the lime side moved up the straw faster than the cherry, resulting in me having a mouthful of lime before I got any cherry, which left me with both brain and mouth freeze. This made it difficult to really taste the flavors, since my mouth was numb and somewhat painful.
Because of this problem, or perhaps because of the physics of sucking two different beverages into one straw, my lime almost immediately contaminated my cherry, traveling down straw #1 when I stopped sucking. [Insert joke about "sucking" and "my cherry" here.]
This may not have just been a mix setting problem, however. As I played around with settings 1 and 2, I noticed that no matter what, some Slurpee would get stuck in the straw, resulting in cross-contamination all-around. It was a relatively small amount with each suck, but by the time I was almost finished, both sides had an identical reddish-brown hue.
My last beef with the Slurpee MixMaker is that it has limited stirring capabilities. Even if you take off the disposable cap, the straws are rigid, which means all you can really do is move back and forth, unless you disconnect the straws separately and use them to stir. This may seem like a minor quibble, but it’s important to constantly stir your Slurpee. If you don’t believe me, just ask Ice-T about the Slushie Hustle.
I love the concept of the Slurpee MixMaker. Good for the indecisive or the adventurous, I think the idea (and the adorable tiny Slurpee dial) would be great for both kids and adults who still enjoy acting like kids. The MixMaker’s execution, however, falls rather short of its intent. The settings can be tricky to get spot-on, the mix setting results in inconsistency of Slurpee flow, and even the individual settings eventually result in cross-contamination. It’s as inevitable as you getting your peanut butter in my chocolate and a-vice-a-versa.
I’ll freely admit, some of this could have been operator error, but it’s really not that hard to use the MixMaker correctly. I could have also gotten a bum device; everyone who has written (or read, for that matter) product reviews knows that your McDonald’s experience might be different from his McDonald’s experience, or my McDonald’s experience, etc. In the end, the Slurpee MixMaker Cup and Straw is fun to play with; however, don’t go into it expecting perfect functionality.
Item: 7-Eleven Slurpee MixMaker Cup & Straw
Price: $2.49 (Straw); $2.99 (Cup) ($0.49 promo discount for the set)
Size: No info on size on the cup or 7-Eleven’s website, but looks like 20 oz. (total)
Purchased at: 7-Eleven
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Settings are fun to play with. Knowing exactly how far away my 7-Eleven is. Adorable little Slurpee dial. Shaking my cane at meddling kids. Having two flavors in one cup (at first, at least). Ice-T losing his shit over “The Slushie Hustle”.
Cons: Inevitable liquid cross-contamination. Should have been called “MixMaster”. Settings are tricky to lock in. Possibly contracting hepatitis by not soaking first. Not easy to stir. The Slushie Hustle.