Whether you are looking for an extra cool way to beat the summer heat, want to take a sip back in time and enjoy one of your favorite childhood treats or simply never let a chance to score a freebie pass you by, mark your calendars now for July 11.

Also known as 7-11, that date is the unofficial birthday of 7-Eleven’s signature, semi-frozen drink that was known as an Icee back in the day.

That is also the day 7-Elevens open the doors for customers to pour free small Slurpees, the drink with a name that resembles the sound fans make as they move the icy mixture through a straw and into their mouths.

Don’t be surprised to find lots of thirsty takers in line when you arrive waiting to draw their drink of choice from one of those oh-so-chill Slurpee machines.

This is a tradition that dates back to 2002, but the actual production of these drinks can be traced back to the 1950s, marking the beginnings of what should be called the “Icee-age.” The concept is said to have been born at a Kansas hamburger restaurant where slightly ice-cold bottles of soda plucked from a deep freezer provided customers with frosty beverages. Eventually, restaurant owner Omar Knedlik worked with a Dallas manufacturer to design equipment that dispensed the slushy sodas, called the invention an “Icee machine” and began building demand among businesses and drugstores.

And on July 11, we drink to his success.

Tips to snag your free Slurpee and enjoy every sip:

  • Avoid peak times when the parking lot may be crowded such as rush hours and lunchtime.
  • Go early to ensure your flavor of choice is not all tapped out when you reach the spout.
  • Take precautions to avoid sphenopalatine ganglioneuralg, a cold-stimulus headache otherwise known as brain freeze. Fortunately, there are seven ways to stop brain freeze that include drinking a warm liquid and pressing your thumb against your mouth.

Wait a minute, seven cures for an ailment caused by the 7-Eleven Slushee? Could that be a coincidence or a clever branding strategy?

Want to know where to go for cold drinks, hot food and more throughout the Tampa Bay area? Simply register at 813Area or 727Area. It's easy and free!

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons