Like patriotism itself, these treats were confusing and explosive.
On the Monday before Independence Day, Dairy Queen unveiled two new "Americana-inspired" Blizzards: the flamboyant Star Spangled Blizzard, which has a red, white, and blue popsicle jutting out of it and blue rock candy blended in, and the Oreo Firework Blizzard, swirled with blue popping candy and Oreo cookie shards. Because it is very hot outside—and I don't have a lot of places to be—I decided to try them both, alone, at Manhattan's premiere (and only) Dairy Queen.
A lifelong fan of Blizzards and vanilla soft serve and Idea-driven foods, I walked into the 14th Street DQ excited, albeit moist and uncomfortable. I ordered mediums (moderation!) of the Star Spangled Blizzard and the Oreo Firework Blizzard and settled into a booth to taste them. I began with the Star Spangled Blizzard, as I was worried the popsicle would melt, but I guess that was sort of the point: drenching the vanilla soft serve in frothy rocket pop sherbet liquid. I pulled the pop out of the Blizzard, like a God damn Sword and the Stone protagonist, and licked it; the pop was delicious! After a few more licks, I wedged it back into the Blizzard and picked up my spoon to try the ice cream. It tasted mostly just like vanilla soft serve, which I think is a good thing: vanilla soft serve is perfect. The blue pop rocks were scarce, though I wish they hadn't been there at all; they interrupted the creaminess without offering any distinct flavor.
The more the pop melted, the more the Star Spangled Blizzard lost its appeal. Melted popsicle doesn't taste very good—it's too sweet when no longer bound by ice and tasted by licks; ingested by the spoonful, even with vanilla soft serve to cut it, the cherry-esque flavor is too overpowering.
From a flavor perspective, the Oreo Firework Blizzard was far more successful, though visually, less stunning. (If you're only in this for the Instagram likes, buy the Star Spangled.) As I ate it, though, I wished it were just a simple, black-and-white Oreo Blizzard. The popping candy distracted from the elements that make Blizzards great: Oreo, soft-serve, improbable thickness. There is something disorienting about crackling on your tongue as you eat spoonfuls of ice cream, too. I guess if I were a kid, and playful still, I'd have thought the crackling sensation was neat. Do kids still say "neat"? I need an update on this.
Having ordered two mediums, I had to surrender eventually. When I looked up, my hands and face splattered in red, I wondered how I had gotten there. I put my sticky fingers to work, scrolling through Instagram to self-soothe, as I pondered my next move.
"Was the Star Spangled good?" A boy, who looked to be about seven, asked me, leaning over his booth. He could have been watching me the whole time; I'd lost track of my surroundings. His face was animated, full of wonder—in a way my face can no longer manoeuver.
"It was really great," I said. He smiled and said, "I knew it."
And it was great, in its way.
The Star Spangled Blizzard Treat is available at participating Dairy Queen and DQ Grill & Chill locations nationwide, while they last, beginning on July 2. The OREO Firework Blizzard Treat is the Blizzard Treat of the month for all of July.