It’s pretty hard to argue with the awesomeness of Ghostbusters. Whether you’re getting nostalgic over the classic original,or flipping out over the new all-female reboot, you have to admit: blasting ghosts with proton packs and driving around in a gadget-laden hearse just plain rules.
The thing is, for anyone who enjoyed a juice box back in the ‘80s and ‘90s (and who didn’t?), it’s well-known that any type of Ghostbusting experience is even better if you’ve got yourself a cold box of Hi-C Ecto Cooler. That sweet, juicy, anti-freeze-lookin’ elixir is the only drink that was officially approved by Slimer. It was a phenomenon that rocked the socks of kids and adults alike.
That is, until it disappeared.
The Mean, Green Cooler
Hi-C Ecto Cooler first appeared in 1987 and was actually just a re-brand of Citrus Cooler, a flavor Hi-C had been selling since the 1960s. In this new edition, however, it had a cooler name, a shocking green hue, and a picture of Slimer on the front. It quickly became a huge hit.
The rebrand was a tie-in with the popular cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters. Based on the original film, the new animated adventures kept the franchise kicking, leading to lunchboxes and action figures galore. But Ecto Cooler was the real jewel of the kingdom.
Ecto’s Slow Sink Into Oblivion
Ecto Cooler was only supposed to stick around until the cartoon ended, but when the series was cancelled in 1991, Ecto was so successful that it continued to flood playgrounds for another decade. It seemed Slimer would never die.
But even ghosts don’t live forever. Slimer left the packaging in 1997, and his prized cooler went through a few sorry name changes and further rebrands. Finally, the fading flavor was discontinued in 2007.
Then came the Ecto dark ages. For almost 10 years, there was no magical green citrus cooler to be found. To help us all cope, the Ghostbusters Chicago Division concocted an elaborate recipe to recreate Ecto Cooler and posted it for all the world to enjoy, but it just wasn’t quite the same as the radioactive original.
2016: A Ghost Hunt
Then, this year, Hi-C announced that Ecto Cooler was returning. It would emerge in all its glory with the new lady-led Ghostbusters flick, and many hoped this would be a permanent move. However, it turned out to be a limited release.
Really limited. Not just for a limited time, but also in limited quantities and locations. Finding the juice boxes in a grocery store is a total crap shoot. Hi-C actually told fans to demand it at their local stores if they wanted it to appear. But even when it does it flies off the shelf just as fast.
Some Cinemark movie theaters were rumored to have Ecto Cooler at concessions stands during the run of the film. But again, there were no guarantees.
I couldn’t find the juice boxes anywhere in LA, so of course I turned to the internet. There, I found the new canned version. And while they don’t come with a bendy straw, the cans do change color after you pop them in the fridge. Excited, I placed my order.
But it wasn’t so easy. Demand was off the charts and even the colossus known as Amazon couldn’t keep up. Sales were being limited by region, and for two weeks they wouldn’t ship it to me. Then, finally, I managed to push an order through. My Ecto was on the way.
While I waited for my ghostly guzzlers to arrive, I dreamily scrolled through the Ecto Cooler posts on Twitter. There’s Ecto sightings, recipes for slushies and ice pops, and overjoyed people posting their #StrawFace selfies. There’s even one of Dan Aykroyd. And now, there is also the Stoned Slimer.
Recipe: Stoned Slimer
It may be bright green, but Ecto Cooler is flavored with tangerine and orange juices. It’s very sweet, with a sticky-smooth mouthfeel and round mandarin tones. You could definitely mix this with vodka or gin for an ectoplasmic riff on an Orange Blossom, or incorporate sparkling water for a garish Tom Collins. Gizmodo used it to make a Pisco Sour.
I, however, opted to make myself a day-glo Margarita.
A bartender once told me that he liked to “stone” his Margaritas, which means adding a small measure of orange juice. It tones down the the tequila and lime, for a more mellow, easy-sipping cocktail—so I stoned my Marg with a heavy pour of Ecto Cooler. This is basically hangover concentrate, but oh man it sure is cool to look at.
- 1 1/2 oz tequila
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 4 oz Hi-C Ecto Cooler
Build over plenty of ice in a bucket glass, and don’t forget the salted rim.
Long live Ecto Cooler. Even when it’s gone, it will always haunt us in our hearts.