If you grew up in the same generation that I did, it’s possible that your mom had a big can of Hi-C juice drink in your refrigerator. You know the kind — it had to be opened with a church key, with two triangular punches in the top of the can.
In the 1980s, to coincide with the release of the original Ghostbusters movie (update: actually, it may have been the cartoon series!) a bright green Hi-C hit the stores: Ecto Cooler.
The sweet citrus flavor of Ecto Cooler has become the stuff of legends. The flavor stuck around for a long, long time — fourteen years!
Ecto Cooler left store shelves around 2001, and other than the occasional reminiscing over 80s’ kitschiness, I haven’t thought about it too much since I was a child.
In April, Coke announced that Hi-C Ecto Cooler was returning to stores as a tie-in with the Ghostbusters movie reboot.
“Let’s get some,” my husband said.
Promotional materials said that Ecto Cooler would hit stores on May 30th. We headed down to our local Jewel-Osco that afternoon: No Ecto Cooler. We went to our nearby Walmart: No Ecto Cooler.
I returned to Jewel and placed a special order for Ecto Cooler, which now comes in 11.5-ounce cans and 10-pack juice boxes.
Several weeks passed. Each time I returned to Jewel, I checked on my order. “We can’t seem to get it,” they said. (Indeed, it’s mid-July now, and they still haven’t been able to get it in… and the new movie hasn’t even hit theaters yet!)
Of course, not having something makes you want it more. I checked Amazon, which was selling 12-can packs of Ecto Cooler for more than ninety dollars..! In watching it, the price at Amazon fluctuates wildly depending whether or not Amazon has it in stock. When they don’t, third-party resellers inflate the price far beyond what you’d likely want to pay for the green stuff.
Other reports of unsuccessful Ecto Cooler hunting appeared online. A Facebook page devoted to Ecto Cooler claimed that Coke has Ecto Cooler in the warehouse, but it wasn’t something that automatically shipped to stores. Stores had to request Ecto Cooler in order to stock it. This didn’t make sense to me, since my local Jewel is still trying to order it for me and cannot get it.
I kept checking the Ecto Cooler Facebook page off and on, and someone recently commented that they’d found Ecto Cooler at a Woodman’s in Wisconsin.
Woodman’s! My husband called our local store, and the woman on the end of the line laughed and confirmed: “Yes, we have Ecto Cooler!”
We went to the Woodman’s location in Carpentersville, Illinois, and there it was sitting on the shelf… Ecto Cooler. Success!
We bought it, of course. Then, we returned home, put it in the fridge, and impatiently waited for it to chill.
While it’s been quite some time since I drank out of a juice box, I’m happy to report that the “new” Ecto Cooler tastes exactly like I remember it tasting when I was a child — as best as I can remember, anyway. It’s a sweet citrus drink with orange and tangerine flavors, and yes, it’s still bright green.
My husband agrees. “This is it — just like when we were kids!” Of course, he just had to pair his Ecto Cooler with a Ghostbusters Key Lime Slime Twinkie. I’m not a big fan of the Twinkie anyway, so I wasn’t feeling quite adventurous enough to join him in eating a slime-filled cake…! Our Ecto Cooler flashback was enjoyable though and totally worth sharing with your kids if you can find it.
If you’re thirsty for the 1980s and have a Woodman’s near you, the odds seem in your favor that you’ll find Ecto Cooler on the shelves. Or, see what the price of Ecto Cooler is on Amazon — you may luck out if it’s in stock.
(For what it’s worth, Ecto Cooler does contain high-fructose corn syrup, which is a substance we usually avoid. This was purely a liquid-candy nostalgia buy to share with our kids and reminisce over.)