I heart Kool-Aid.
I know. People make fun of it. People consider it gauche. But I heart Kool-Aid. Always have.
Did you know that from August 11-13, 2006, in Hastings, Nebraska, you can take part in the exciting Kool-Aid Days Festival? Richie Havens will be there (hey, and he was at Woodstock). Kool-Aid Man will be there, too. For only $2.00, you can purchase your own collectible Kool-Aid Days Kool-Aid mug, with which you may have all the Kool-Aid you want to drink from the 16 flavors that will be served at the Festival.
Sixteen flavors. That means, in all likelihood, all the “regular” flavors Kool-Aid currently has on the market (Tropical Punch, Cherry, Grape, Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry, Lemon-Lime, Black Cherry, and Orange) plus the seven, harder-to-find, “twisted” flavors (Watermelon/Cherry, Strawberry/Kiwi, Strawberry/Starfruit, Berry/Cherry, Berry Blue, Strawbery Lemonade, and Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade). There are three other flavors, but they are the color change flavors, which I sort of doubt will be featured at the festival.
A packet of Kool-Aid mix makes 2 quarts when mixed with water and one cup of sugar. (I know many will no doubt see the irony in the fact that our Kool-Aid is always made with organic, unrefined sugar. But surely the organic sugar cancels out the artificial colors and flavors, right?) First, I fill the container about 1/4 of the way full with warm water, then I dissolve 2 cups of sugar in the water, stirring to make sure there are no undissolved granules. Then I mix in 2 packets of Kool-Aid mix, stirring well, and then I add enough cold water to make a gallon. We’ve found that mixing various flavors together yields nice results, such as:
1 packet of Lemonade, 1 packet of Orange
1 packet of Cherry, 1 packet of Lemonade or Pink Lemonade
1 packet of Strawberry, 1 packet of Pink Lemonade
1 packet of Lemon-Lime, 1 packet of Lemonade (This one tastes like Hi-C Citrus Cooler, which I used to love as a child.)
I find Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid by itself (that is, not mixed with Lemonade) to be virtually undrinkable, although it does bring back memories of my childhood and VBS at church in the summer, at which we always seemed to have Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid and butter cookies (the ones with the hole in the middle) for snack time.
Another thing I really love about Kool-Aid: right now at Super 1 it’s $0.20 a packet, and last week it was on special for $0.10 a packet!
(Kool-Aid has gotten a bum rap over the years because of its association with the Jim Jones “People’s Temple” cult and the mass suicide involving a poisoned batch of grape drink. But, that wasn’t Kool-Aid: it was a knock-off brand called “Flavor Aid.” That’s a sure sign that you’re in a bad cult: when they won’t even buy “real” Kool-Aid to cover up the taste of the poison they’re giving you.)
I miss Raspberry Kool-Aid. (Note–I’m not taking about Blue Raspberry. Eww. I don’t like drinking anything that is the exact color of Windex. No, I’m talking about the regular, raspberry-colored Raspberry.) It was one of the six original flavors first introduced in 1927 (along with Cherry, Grape, Orange, Lemon-Lime, and Strawberry) and reportedly was also the favorite of Kool-Aid’s inventor, Edwin Perkins. They stopped making it sometime in the 1990s. Sure, they have some blue raspberry combinations, but they’re not the same. Raspberry Kool-Aid was the best! Tangerine is really good too, although it’s usually only found where there is a large Hispanic market (which explains the bilingual package).
Not all flavors are equally yummy, though. For example, at some point they made a Root Beer flavor, which sounds absolutely horrid to me.
Kool-Aid phenomenon I’ve never seen: my wife says she remembers seeing children walking around with packets of Kool-Aid mix, sticking their fingers in it and sucking on it. I remember the candy called “Fun Dip” which had a white candy stick that you could dip into a sour powdery substance, but I never saw anyone do this with just regular ol’ Kool-Aid. My wife tells me that, for whatever reason, the Kool-Aid in question was always red (whether Cherry, Tropical Punch, Strawberry, or what have you). Has anyone else witnessed this phenomenon?
Any others who share this guilty pleasure? Any good Kool-Aid recipes out there? (I once read of a man who makes “adult” Kool-Aid involving ginger ale and gin.) Any flavors you miss? (Purplesaurus Rex, anyone? How ’bout Sharkleberry Fin?)