by: Roger Barr
It's finally back. Ecto Cooler is actually back! Well, "back" may not be the appropriate word, since it's still proving to be quite hard for most people to track down, so let's go with "somewhat attainable" for now. No need to worry though, as I'm guessing we'll see it become more readily available to the masses over the next month due to it selling out instantly online.
But let's just step back for a minute and think about this: It's the year 2016 and we can all drink Ecto Cooler again!
How incredible is that!? If you're nostalgic about classic concoctions, we're truly living in some amazing times. We've already seen the likes of New York Seltzer, Surge, and other beloved beverages from yesteryear resurface. Will the classic Orbitz beverage make a comeback too? One can only hope.
Now, our favorite liquefied ghost juice has fought a decade-long uphill battle to make its belated encore into our collective gullets, and all it took was a new entry into the Ghostbusters film franchise to make it happen.
A few months, to kick off Memorial Day Weekend, I received a very special delivery at my door...
No, your eyes do not deceive you; this is indeed a Ghostbusters ghost trap containing a juice box and a can of Ecto Cooler. In an instant, my Memorial Day Weekend became Ectorial Day Weekend, and it was nice to see it presented so lovingly in an iconic piece Ghostbusters equipment, oozing with slime that would even make Vigo the Carpathian crack a smile.
Also included is a generic "Barrel-O-Slime" container, which I thought was a really nice lil' touch. While these promotional Ghostbusters ghost trap packs unfortunately won't be made available to the public, you should know that this exact brand of slime is easy to find, as I've purchased some myself in the past and instantly recognized it. You can buy it on Amazon if you want some to go with your new new Ecto Cooler. And honestly, who doesn't need a spare cannister of slime in their lives?
But let's get back to the return of Ecto Cooler itself...
The 2016 limited release of Ecto Cooler currently comes in two sizes: a small juice box and a standard can. The can seems to be the most desired one of the two, not just because it contains nearly twice as much of the sweet, ghoulish nectar, but the can itself actually changes colors after having been chilled in your refrigerator for a bit. Take a look:
It's a really nice touch. Seeing the Hi-C logo turn from a sickly yellow to a slime green makes Ecto Cooler's glorious return all the sweeter. Honestly, it's such a subtle change that I wonder if most people will even notice it. It's kind of odd that nowhere on the can itself does it mention that it changes colors. I honestly doubt I would have noticed it, if the included promotional materials didn't mention, "The exterior of the cans turn an eerie shade of slime green when the product inside is cold." But hey, maybe those of us that do notice the change can feel extra special, because we have some insider knowledge about Ecto Cooler, right? Oh, shut up... I'll take my little pleasures wherever I can find them, even if they come in the form of subtle color-changing cans.
Speaking of changes, let's take a look at how the cans and boxes of Ecto Cooler have changed since the original release:
First and foremost, I'm sure everybody has realized by now that Slimer is absent from the new design, despite that the whole reason Ecto Cooler is back is to help promote the upcoming 2016 Ghostbusters film. If you didn't know why he was omitted from the packaging, it's because the Coca-Cola Company has a policy of not marketing their products to children under 12. Granted, most of the people who desperately wanted Ecto Cooler to return are well over that age, but I understand Coca-Cola's reasons here.
In place of everyone's favorite focused, non-terminal, repeating phantasm, or a Class Five full roaming vapor - we have slime. Sliiiiiiiiiime! The new design has the cartons and cans dripping with green ecto ooze, and I quite like it. I also like that they've kept the classic Hi-C logo and even used the same photograph of the fruits that appeared on the original packaging. Is it a better overall design than the original? No, because we all love Slimer, but it's still a perfectly nice modern take on the classic Ecto Cooler aesthetics. And come on... Ecto Cooler is actually back! Can't ask for more than that.
Aside from the design changes, the containers themselves have changed in size. The juice boxes are now thinner, containing 6 fluid ounces of Ecto Cooler, as opposed to the originals which held 8.45 fluid ounces. On the other hand, the cans are now the standard 11.5 fluid ounces, as opposed to the original 7.7 fluid ounces. And in case you're wondering, while they used to make large 46 fl. oz. cans of Ecto Cooler, don't expect to see them in that size for the 2016 limited edition release.
And now for the big question: How does it taste?
It tastes like Ecto Cooler. It tastes exactly like the Ecto Cooler I remember growing up with. One whiff of this ultra-sugary citrus concoction and I was immediately transported back to a simpler time where playing with The Real Ghostbusters toys was the most pressing task of my day. It's an experience myself and other Ecto fans have been waiting to relive for many years now, and my tastebuds are convulsing with seizures of orange-tangerine glee after every sip.
Tart. Tangy. Terrific.
You'll also be happy to know that the ingredients are virtually the same as they were originally, right down to the Yellow #5 and Blue #1 dyes. And man oh man, are those dyes ever running on overdrive! If you're ever looking to film a scene where one of the characters needs to drink something that looks convincingly like antifreeze, Ecto Cooler would absolutely get the job done. The Toxic Avenger himself would feel right at home taking a bath in this stuff, so drink up your neon green juice!
As of my writing this article, Ecto Cooler is available online and in select stores. You can visit the official Ecto Cooler site to learn more about how you can score some for yourself. Big thanks to my buddy, Shawn, from Branded in the 80s for putting me in touch with the folks at Hi-C / Coca-Cola so they'd send me an Ecto Cooler pack to test and review. Be sure to check out his Ecto Cooler article which dives into the history of the drink, including its early beginnings as "Citrus Cooler".
And now for something extra special that we filmed for the return of Ecto Cooler... a brand new documentary!
The True Story of the Two Biggest Ecto Cooler Fans
Ecto Coolest is a documentary about the world's two biggest Ecto Cooler fans: Gort and Mort Torpentine. These two brothers have been living off of their old supply for decades, and it's had quite a dramatic impact on their lives as you'll soon discover. Big thanks to my good pal, Nathan Barnatt, for filming this with me. Hope you all enjoy it!
Whether or not the new Ghostbusters proves to be great (I'll remain hopeful until I see otherwise), we all owe the filmmakers some serious gratitude, for it has brought back one of the greatest beverages of the eighties and nineties for a whole new generation to enjoy. It's been a blast watching Ecto Cooler fans, both old and new, tracking it down and sharing their thoughts about it online. Telling people about Ecto Cooler for ages, after it had been discontinued for over a decade, only to magically have it return so they can finally taste it for themselves, has truly been the biggest treat of all.
Drink up, you ugly little spuds!
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