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Orange Drink: The Retro Un-Cola

Posted by: Andrew - Wed, 5 Oct 2011

While waiting for the Balboa dance lessons to end and the attendees of the Rhythm shuffle event to peruse our wares, I was chit chatting with my mom. She had come to help run our Cats Like Us table and she was telling me about a recent visit to a local dairy. Hoover's Dairy, located in Sandborne NY, about 20 miles from Buffalo, has a small store attached. While there, she was thirtsy and ordered an orange drink. She found it to be strangely familiar and after inquiring what it was, her suspicions were confirmed – it was Green Spot.

Green Spot is Orange Drink?

"What's Green Spot?" I was intrigued. My mom had not had it since she was a kid in the 1950s , but apparently many dairies (and Hoover's to this day) also bottled and sold it as orange drink right along side the milk.  It's sort of like a tang or Kool-Aid soft drink. They sell it in the same bottle as milk. At only 75¢ a quart, I asked her to buy me 2 next time she was at the dairy!

Green Spot Orange drink in a dairy bottleHoover's Dairy Green Spot Orange Drink bottle top
(Green Spot Orange drink comes in a dairy bottle)

Curious, I did a little research and found out more about Green Spot. It was originally developed in the US and is alive and well (not only at our local dairy but) in southeast Asia. Weird. And when I got a taste, well, read on ...

Retro Green Spot Orange Drink Advertisement

Hearing my mom's memories about this orange drink as a kid made me reminisce about the soft drink of MY youth: Kool-Aid! Having tried Green Spot, loved Kool-Aid as a kid and my present day fascination with Tang, I thought why not have a taste test for retro ornage drink?! So that's just what we did, and some of the results surprised us.

Scientific Taste Test

5 orange drinks were sampled by 8 subjects, and they were not told what they were drinking. Special thanks to Mike and Judy, Chris and Jo and their neighbors for being my guinea pigs! Kool-Aid, Hi-C, Green Spot, Tang, and Jug Orange Drink were all sampled and rated on a spectrum of criteria: orange flavor, sweetness, and overall pleasant taste. All were either right from the container or prepared exactly as directed.

Retro Orange drink taste Test with HiC, Tang, Kool-Aid and Green Spot

I am pleased to report that Kool-Aid scored best, with Tang and Green Spot tied for second, and unsurprisingly the Jug Orange Drink liked least. Tang and Hi-C were judged sweetest. Some choice comments included:

Kool-Aid - "Pleasant taste with medium sweetness."

Tang - "Sweet?! I think my tooth just fell out."

Orange Jug Drink - "This reminds me of the uncle that touched me."


Everyone's taste in orange drinks are different and everyone in the group picked a favorite (and a least favorite). They are cheap thirst quenchers that have less sugar than many sodas, so what's not to like? These drinks haven't changed much since all our childhoods, and it is pretty neat that your local dairy might still be bottling an orange drink you've never even heard of!

All this writing has made me thirsty. I think I'm going to go have some Kool-Aid – Oh yeah!



Update 3/2012:

I had originally intended to include "Little Hugs" drinks as well in this taste test. Of course when I was looking for them I could not find them. However the other day I stumbled upon them at the grocery store, and I thought I should post an update.

Little Hugs Orange Drink - barrel bottleLittle Hugs Orange Drink Pack

Completely unsciintific taste test

I would rate Little Hugs as a half-step above jug orange drink... slightly lower than Hi-C. The defining characteristics were a weak flavor and slight aftertaste. I'd say the most exciting thing about Little Hugs are the barrel bottle they come in, which probably isn't saying much for a drink. That being said, I still enjoy them as a nostalgic trip back to my youth.






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