The Accidental Origin Of Slurpees

Nothing beats the icy wetness of a Slurpee on a sweltering July afternoon. Sitting at a mere 28 degrees (per 7-Eleven), and available in an array of tastebud tantalizing flavors like Brisk Blood Orange and Pina Colada, this slushie-type beverage calls itself "fizzy, fluffy, frozen perfection." Yes, the Slurpee doesn't claim to be modest. It claims to be cold — an assertion that it definitely lives up to. Slurpee-induced brain freezes attest to that fact. Mental Floss reports that Slurpee's "brain freezes" are so common that 7-Eleven decided to trademark the condition's moniker, forever linking this chilly beverage to the pain it can cause your brain.

What really causes brain freeze and how do you get rid of it? The Cleveland Clinic explains that when you eat or drink something that is icy cold, your body sets to work at trying to warm itself up. It causes blood vessels in the chilled region (in this case, your head and throat) to open up to let more warm blood through. This sudden expansion of your vessels can cause intense pain. Cleveland Clinic adds that you can alleviate this stabbing sensation by setting down your icy drink and drinking a room-temperature or warm liquid instead. Alternatively, you could try pushing your thumb or tongue against the roof of your mouth.

So who can we thank for introducing the beloved Slurpee — and the subsequent not-so-beloved brain pain? 

The Slurpee actually originated at a Dairy Queen

While you may have understandably assumed that the Slurpee's "birth" took place in a 7-Eleven, it turns out that the history of this nippy beverage goes back to a Dairy Queen. That's right.

Thrillist reports that in the late 1950s, a Dairy Queen franchise operator in Kansas named Omar Knedlik found himself with a broken soda fountain. After popping his soft drinks in a freezer, he discovered a new icy beverage that his customers loved. Mental Floss goes on to state that he developed his own slushie machine using a vehicle's air conditioning. He then ran a contest asking the public to name his new drink, and the resulting product became known as "ICEE."

Yes, thanks to an equipment malfunction and the public's penchant for freezing cold drinks, the first slush-based beverage was introduced to the world. But how did it wind up becoming a Slurpee? Knedlik had recruited the help of a manufacturer in Dallas to help him develop his ICEE machine, which resulted in a local 7-Eleven store manager hearing about this new beverage. This, in turn, led to the convenience store chain buying a bunch of ICEE machines, and renaming their product the "Slurpee" (per WFAA). And this famous drink soon reached — and froze — parched palates across America.