Thursday, August 28, 2014

Make Your Own Ecto-Cooler II

Boys and ghouls, pull out your Proton Packs because today is National Ghostbusters Day!  Yep, believe it or not, 2014 marks Ghostbusters' 30th Anniversary and I'm here to celebrate with one of my favorite drinks of all-time... Ecto-Cooler!!  If you're a fan of The Holidaze, you may remember when I first concocted my own version of Hi-C Ecto-Cooler using the Ghosbusters Chicago recipe.  It was difficult finding all the necessary ingredients, but worked out wonderfully and got me through the dark times of Hurricane Sandy.  Ecto-Cooler, known for creating so many childhood memories, provided me with another in adulthood as my family and I sat in pitch black darkness drinking the batch of Ecto-Cooler I had put together before Hurricane Sandy knocked our power out and left us cut-off from the outside world.  For so many reasons, it's special and means something different to each of us who remember when Slimer was prominent in our lunch boxes.

Today, to honor one of my favorite films or all-time and it's 30th Anniversary, I wanted to do something that truly stood out and, in the process, would bridge the gap between Summer and Fall as the re-release of Ghostbusters will do tomorrow night in theaters.  Although I've made my own Ecto-Cooler in the past and it was featured on the official Ghostbusters Facebook page, I wanted to do it again in an easier fashion.  Plus, unlike last time, having a refrigerator keep it cold without losing energy would make for a more enjoyable week of green slime.

The key to creating Ecto-Cooler in today's day and age is finding a way of taking Orange and Tangerine flavors and mixing them to perfectly recreate the taste and flavor we all know and love.  Last time, that wasn't easy.  I had to order Tangerine Kool-Aid on Ebay and hunt down a slew of products that I could only hope would bring out the Ecto-Cooler flavor or, at least, come close to the classic.  But now, thanks to Juicy Juice Orange Tangerine, all the hard work is already done for us!  All wee need to do is pour in a little green food coloring and..boom.. Ecto-Cooler!

But before we get mixing, Juicy Juice isn't the only brand offering us Orange Tangerine flavoring.  Market Pantry, which is Target's orginal brand, now has an Orange Tangerine liquid water enhancer.  I'm a big fan of these juicy drops, from Kool-Aid to Crush flavors, and was pumped to find Orange Tangerine on the same day.  Plus, the flavor's name is colored green.  Hmm.. Coincidence?  If I were a Market Pantry executive, I'd probably go with an orange color scheme.  Unless, of course, I'm looking to invite fans of Ecto-Cooler to give my product a whirl.  Regarless of the case, they lured me in and we now have two Orange Tangerine options.  Until Hi-C wakes up and brings back Ecto-Cooler, I'll go with the competition.

Orange Tangerine Juicy Juice goes from an ordinary, everyday, drink to Ecto-Cooler in a mere matter of 8 drops.  Once the green food coloring is mixed...

Ahhhh... Now how's that for a beautiful green color?  If you remember my first go-around with an Ecto-Cooler recipe, the flavor was on-point but the color was disgusting.  It was more of a sewer brown than a Slimer green, but it was all we had and it did the trick.  But this time, because we have less ingredients and the Juicy Juice is more diluted, the green food coloring shines through and pops much more significantly than we had before.  It's a gorgeous color and much closer to what I remember as a kid.  You can play around with the impact by dropping more or less food coloring into the juice, but I'm happy with this shade.  It's not only perfect for a refreshing Halloween drink, but does Ghostbusters and Hi-C Ecto-Cooler justice.

Sure, on a 90 degree day, you'd think this hits the spot, but all it did was attract bees and wasps that attempted to attack me, once again, as I photographed the custom Ecto-Cooler.  If Halloween wasn't enough reason for Fall to make an early arrival, these nasty bugs leaving for 6 months surely is!  As I ran away, screaming more than any man ever should, I successfully pulled of 6 new Karate moves you've never seen before.  It was embarrassingly impressive, but I'm much more of a Ghostbuster than I am a Bugbuster. Those flying pests quickly chased my inside where I finished mixing my Ecto-Cooler.  But don't focus on my inability to handle creatures the size of my finger nails and put that attention on the gorgeous green color of this Ecto-Cooler.  That's much more important than my defeat.

I had a small hope in the back of my mind that this Orange Tangerine mix was going to be green.  That colored text had me thinking that maybe, just maybe, Market Pantry truly was attempting to make their own version of Ecto-Cooler.  I knew it was a long shot, but I can't deny that the thought was present and quickly eliminated once I snapped open the cap.  It's obviously orange and, of course, that makes sense.  Once mixed with the water, the scent was much stronger than that of Juicy Juice.  Based on aroma alone, this seemed to resemble Ecto-Cooler much more than Orange Tangerine Juicy Juice, so I was excited to drop in some food coloring and give this a taste test.

On the left, we have the dyed Juicy Juice while, on the right, we have the dyed Market Pantry Orange Tangerine.  Obviously, the liquid enhancer gives us more of that sewer color than the Juicy Juice, but the flavor is much stronger.  Believe it or not, the Market Pantry enhancer is the closest thing I've had to Ecto-Cooler since I first put together the Ghostbusters Chicago recipe.  What's cool about the water enhancer is that you control how much, or how little, you actually want in your bottle.  I added a lot and I think that makes a big difference.  On one hand, you're losing that bright green color but, on the other, you're adding more flavor.  If you remember Ecto-Cooler, it was tasty, it was sugary, and it was delicious.  While Juicy Juice looks great and is certainly verrrrry close to the original, Market Pantry Orange Tangerine comes even closer.  But, the best news?  Regardless of which one you choose, you're getting Ecto-Cooler.  There's no doubt in my mind that slimy green memories will instantly start flooding back!

It's been 30 years since Ghostbusters first graced the big screen!  In 1984, I wasn't even born yet, but my Parents exposed me to the animated series where Slimer really blew up in popularity.  From there, they let me watch the movie and I remember being terrified by Gozer.  I was probably between 4-5 years-old and I don't think I slept for days.  But, as I grew older, I came to appreciate the film, the series, and the characters.  Today, they're a huge part of my nostalgic life and I love going back to relive and enjoy the franchise in as many was as possible.  Whether it's through cinema, animation, video games, merchandise, or drinks like Ecto-Cooler, I love the fact that Ghostbusters is still alive and well in the minds and hearts of those who lived through the time and those who are living it for the first time!

If you want to make your own Ecto-Cooler, these are the easiest ways of pulling off the recipe and enjoying the legendary Hi-C drink.  If you're anything like me, you'll be pouring this into a bottle and sneaking it into theaters to watch the first Ghostbusters film as it flies back into theaters for a limited-time only.  Enjoy!

Who ya gonna call?


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