The Great White Grape Slushee (Play Me Backwards teaser)

So, we got one of those "Soda Stream" machines at Smart Aleck's Guide HQ. Didn't much like the Splenda-based syrups you could buy, so we started making our own. We made hundreds of them, and ended up making a whole new Smart Aleck's Guide with 100+ recipes, 50+ soda fountain formulas, and a whole bunch of pictures of people wearing stupid hats.  They'll be putting up new excerpts every day this week over at  Also included are recipes to make White Grape and Purple Vanilla slushees, which appear in the upcoming Play Me Backwards!

Here's an excerpt to plug both at once, with simple recipes in the sidebar:

The Smart Aleck’s Guide to Bootleg Soda: 100+ Homemade Soda Syrup Recipes, plus 50+ classic fountain drink formulas.

Just $2.99 on Kindle

"White Grape" and 
"Purple Vanilla" are
actually two of the easiest
soda/slushee syrups to
make; neither uses
fresh fruit, like most
of the recipes.

White Grape:
Mix 1 part white
grape juice with
2 parts sugar, boil
to dissolve, and cool.

Purple Vanilla:
Avoid real grapes
for this; take one
packet of "purple 
stuff" drink mix,
2 cups sugar, and
1 cup water, plus
1 tablespoon of 
vanilla extract (or
to taste).  Booil to

Add to carbonated
water for soda, or
directly over shaved
ice for Slushees.
From PLAY ME BACKWARDS: in which Leon and Paige have been commanded by Stan (who claims to be Satan) to search Des Moines for the possibly mythical "white grape" flavored slushee....

Paige and I were back out hunting for Slushees the next day. Now that we'd established exactly how we'd celebrate getting the White Grape one, she was much more into the whole quest than she had been before. In the days since the 5-yen piece appeared on the wall, we'd searched for the Great White Grape Slushee everywhere: among the subdivisions of Ankeny, the split-level houses of Clive, the brick bungalows of Beaverdale, the stately mansions of Sherman Hill, and the neatly-ordered streets of downtown Des Moines. 

By this time we'd found that we could usually predict what they'd have in each gas station. Casey's General Store usually had the same three flavors at every location, Kum and Go usually had the same four, and Quick Trip had the same six. 

But now and then there'd be a wild card, and on that day we found two new flavors: "strawberry citrus freeze" and something called "purple vanilla,” which was tasty as hell. "Purple" is a reliably good flavor to start with, and adding vanilla made it practically a gourmet dish, as gas station grub goes. Rather than sharing one, like we usually did, we each got our own. Paige hadn't had a whole one in a long time; she usually just had a sip of mine and got a bottle of juice, if anything. But one makes exceptions for purple vanilla. 

When we got to the car, I called Stan.

"We found purple vanilla," I said. "Is that it?"

"Why would purple vanilla be the same thing as white grape?" he asked.

"Well, purple usually means grape, and vanilla-flavored stuff is usually white, right?"

"You've got a fine understanding of junk food semiotics, Harris," Stan said. "But you still haven't found the Great White Grape."

Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer is coming in August from Simon and Schuster

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Adam's New Book: Sept 2013