It's a cheap, powdered beverage that you make with kool-aid powder and sugar. Their mascot used to be the Kool-aid man, and they had an ad campaign for the longest time where you would send in "points" on the back of the packages and receive advertising in the form of T-shirts and tupperware.

When sold to passers by on the street in small paper cups for spare change, Kool-Aid has been, for some preteens, an easy introduction to entrepreneurship.

A few years later, the same kids will also use brightly colored, unsweetened Kool-Aid powder as a hair dye. It's much cheaper than Manic Panic.

Kool-Aid Fruit Tea*

0 Calories!

Directions: put four tablespoons of sugar...

*contains no fruit or tea. Not suitable for human consumption.

Intrigued by constant cultral references to Kool-Aid on the web, I had an American friend send me a few sachets. I followed the highly dubious directions, and found myself with two pints of what appeared to be red dye. But, I thought I'd keep an open mind, so I lifted the glass to my lips...

Good God, humans drink this stuff?

I can't have drunk more than a quarter of a pint, but I was left with a hideous aftertaste that wouldn't leave for days. I swear it stained the stainless steel sink when I poured it away. It took two showers before the stains on my hands were gone, I felt like Lady Macbeth.

I can see why people took acid with Kool-Aid. You need some form of heavy duty reality buffer to drink it.
Kool Aid is a powdered drink mix. A staple of most homes with small children when I was growing up, it has been replaced in the past 10 years by the juice box. Normal mixing instructions include mixing a cup of sugar and 2 quarts of water, although how people mix it varies.

Flavors vary from passable to horrid. I have always thought that orange Kool Aid tastes like cancer, although I have no proof; cancer may not taste that bad.

Kool Aid's mascot is an enormous pitcher of red Kool Aid, known as Kool Aid Man. He has a penchant for causing structural damage to any building in which Kool Aid is being served, so, parents, be warned.

Kool-Aid, a powdered soft drink mix, and cultural icon in North America, was invented in Omaha, Nebraska, in the year 1927.

The inventor, Edwin Perkins, was a self-taught chemist and developed many common products, specialising in flavours and scents. In the year 1914, at the age of 25, Perkins, and his wife Kitty, were marketing 125 products via nationwide mail-order sales. The Perkins Products Company was selling cleaners, toilet products, perfumes, extracts, and many other household preparations.

A fruit-flavoured beverage concentrate, which Perkins called "Fruit Smack", was one of his most popular lines. Available in six flavours (cherry, grape, lemon, orange, root beer and raspberry), the beverage was marketed in 4-ounce bottles. The Perkins Products Company mail-order catalogue described the product so:

"It has no equal for parties, socials, dances, church and lodge affairs. Can be prepared by the single glass or by the bowlful. Splendid to serve when company drops in unexpectedly. Absolutely pure and healthful."

Fruit Smack's problem was the bottle -- which was heavy and prone to breakage and leaks whilst in transit through the mail.

In 1927, Perkins took inspiration from the popular Jell-O dessert preparation, and was successful in producing a dehydrated form of Fruit Smack, which he packed into sachets, providing his customers with all the benefits of Fruit Smack at a much cheaper cost.

"Kool-Ade" (sic) was born in seven different flavours: cherry, lemon-lime, grape, orange, root beer, strawberry, and raspberry. The name was later modernised to "Kool-Aid".

The product was a hit all over the USA and Latin America, being marketed in 1-ounce envelopes, allowing thirsty consumers to add their own sugar and water to produce a tasty and inexpensive soft drink at home. The product line was so successful, in fact, that the Perkins Products Company abandoned all their other lines so as to focus on Kool-Aid.

The General Foods corporation purchased the rights to Kool-Aid in the year 1953, when Ed Perkins was 64 years old, and moved manufacturing operations from Nebraska to Chicago, Illinois. General Foods merged with Kraft in the year 1989.

At the time of writing, Kool-Aid is available in over 20 flavours and a number of pre-mixed, powdered, and frozen forms. Over 560,000,000 gallons (2,119,768,000 litres!) of Kool-Aid are consumed every year.

Kool-Aid is the Official Soft Drink of Nebraska, being declared by Governor Ben Nelson on May 21, 1998.


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