Researching this assignment, I was teleported back to my elementary school cafeteria. I was once again feeling jealous of all the kids who opened their lunch boxes and got to spear a tiny straw into that haunting yellow box with the green ghost from the movie I was too cowardly to watch because it had “Ghost” in the title. That’s right, today we’re talking Hi-C’s Ecto Cooler, and if you were lucky enough to be one of those kids who didn’t have to drink lunch-line milk, you know exactly why we’re discussing it…because, folks, it’s pretty sweet. (I assume. I’ll be much more authoritative on the “Everything You Need to Know About Encouraging Notes Joe’s Mom Left in His Lunch Box in Lieu of a Rad Beverage” article.)
What is Ecto Cooler?
Ecto Cooler is a rebranded version of an earlier Hi-C drink called Citrus Cooler, which had been on shelves since the 1960s. The rebrand was a product tie-in with the ABC cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters, based on the 1984 live-action film, Ghostbusters, which, as it turns out, isn’t all that scary in the least, unless you’re frightened of Bill Murray’s smarm. The green color of the drink was associated with Slimer aka Onionhead, a breakout character from the films who had a more prominent role in the Saturday Morning cartoon. Though, personally, I wish Hi-C would have taken a gamble on a flavor based on Rick Moranis’ character, Louis Tully. Kids can’t get enough of that dude.
When did Ecto Cooler come out?
Ecto Cooler debuted in 1987, but again, was based on a flavor that had been in stores since 1965. As a baby born in 1988, I can’t help but wonder how many of us are direct results of couples celebrating in jubilation that a new flavor of Hi-C had hit the shelves. 1988: The year of the Ecto Cooler baby.
Can you still buy Ecto Cooler?
Yes, Ecto Cooler is still sold in stores (you can get it at Walmart for under $2) and it is the same “Nickelodeon green” it’s always been, but Slimer is no longer on the packaging. That’s all well and good, though, as modern children most likely would have no idea who Slimer is, anyhow. They’d likely mistake him for the Mucinex phlegm glob, and who wants to drink a juicebox that guy was anywhere near? No thank you!
What flavor is Ecto Cooler?
Ecto Cooler is an elegant blend of tangerine and orange fruit concentrate (with no artificial flavor!). Now that you know this, you’ll be able to one-up any pretentious sommelier you encounter. Sure, they can tell you the nuances of a red or white wine…but, call me when they can expound on the mouthfeel of slime-green!
Look, when it comes to funny green puppets, Kermit will obviously always have my heart, but it’s genuinely amazing to me that one of the most enduring drinks we give to children before recess is associated with a hot dog-eating ghoul from a movie many of them are too young to see. It’s beautiful, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.