Hey, you 1990s kids: Don your slap bracelets and take those Ring Pops out of your mouths: Surge, the cult-favorite citrus soda still beloved by many, is making a comeback.
Surge came out in 1997 as Coca-Cola attempted to compete with Pepsi's Mountain Dew. It was tangy, sweet, uber-caffeinated, and brighter than a nuclear explosion.
"Was it green? Was it yellow?" my co-author Brian Bellmont and I wondered in our 2013 book "The Totally Sweet '90s". "Surge was a mix of the two, maybe the color you'd get if you soaked a highlighter in a glass full of lime Jell-O."
Surge vanished from stores in the early 2000s, but stayed alive in Norway, where it was branded as "Urge." But now, thanks to the lobbying efforts of devoted fans calling themselves "the SURGE Movement," Coca-Cola has decided to bring it back, available exclusively on Amazon.com. (Though when we tried to order some on Monday morning, the site seemed to be sold out, saying it would email us when Surge was available.)
While we wait for Surge's resurgence, here are 6 retro treats we'd like to see return:
Marathon candy bars
Marathon bars were simple and elegant: Chocolate embracing a caramel braid, what could be better? Brits have tried to tell us Cadbury Curly-Wurly bars are the same, but we Yanks politely disagree. Come on, Mars, soothe our 1970s-1980s longings!
Jell-O Pudding Pops
The treat that was so missed we named a book after them ("Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?", 2011). Jell-O Pudding Pops ruled the 1980s, then disappeared, returned briefly when Jell-O licensed the name to Popsicle, then melted away again. But we're starting to see make-your-own Pudding Pop kits in our grocery stores, so there's hope.
Folks like a lemon slice in their colas at bars, but apparently not in pre-made sodas. Neither Pepsi nor Coke can seem to keep a lemon-accented cola on the shelves, even though Diet Coke with Lime seems to be a consistent seller. Lemon-flavored Pepsi Light was one of the drink world's earliest attempts, starting with half the calories of a regular cola, then cutting that down to one calorie. Wasn't enough to save it, apparently.
Original New York Seltzer
We loved the flavors of this clear soft drink (peach! vanilla creme!) but we adored the packaging just as much. Original New York Seltzer came in squat little glass bottles with foam labels that were so much fun to peel off.
Planters Cheez Balls
Yes, the "z" made it clear that Planters Cheez Balls had probably never even been in the same room with real cheese, but that didn't make them any less delicious. There are plenty of orange-dust-covered treats out there, but there's still nothing like these round, neon orange snacks and their super-cool blue cylinder packaging. No '80s party could get started without them.
Yes, another Jell-O product, and no, we're not on their payroll. It's just that Jell-O 1-2-3 was the best-tasting science experiment ever, a boxed mix that let you turn out a layered gelatin parfait with a foamy top layer, mousse-like middle, and regular Jell-O bottom, all in variations of the same flavor and color. Thankfully, you can make your own.
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