Iced Coffee in a glass with coffee beans

Iced coffee image by Bru-nO on Pixabay (public domain)


By freelance writer Jane Duncan

September 18 2020

Whether you were a kid or an adult during the 80s, it’s likely that you had a favourite drink or cocktail that you remember fondly to this day. Some iconic films from the decade of excess even put beverages in the spotlight - who can forget the Red Eye from “Cocktail” or the cans of Coca Cola that the gang from “The Breakfast Club” guzzled during their Saturday detention?
Some of the best drinks from the 80s can still be recreated today, while others aren’t available anymore, and are now considered to be relics from the past. Take a walk down memory lane, and raise a glass to the drinks that everyone loved in the 80s. 

Sweetened Iced Coffee

It’s hard to imagine life before coffee culture became a thing all over the world, but back in the 80s, the most popular coffee drink was sweetened iced coffee. At home, people would make their own brew with Nescafé, Folger’s, Maxwell House or Taster's Choice, and they would lighten it with milk, cream or half and half. To sweeten it, they would mix in plain sugar or an artificial sweetener such as Canderel or Equal, which were highly popular back in the 80s. If they wanted iced coffee, they would put everything, along with a few ice cubes, in a tumbler, then shake the tumbler for about a minute to get an icy cold, caffeinated treat. 

To make an upgraded version of the iced coffee, start by using your oven or popcorn maker to roast your coffee beans. Once the beans have transformed into light roast or medium roast coffee, grind them up and use your coffee maker to make a batch of hot coffee. Allow it to cool, then stir in some soy or almond milk, plus a teaspoon or two of maple syrup or honey. Drop in a few ice cubes, and enjoy your drink. 

Blue Cocktails

Blue cocktails were all the rage in the 80s, and bartenders spent most of their time making a Blue Curacao or a Blue Hawaiian. A Blue Curacao is made with one part Blue Curacao, one part vodka, and four parts lemonade, while a Blue Hawaiian contains sweet and sour, pineapple juice, vodka, light rum, simple syrup, fresh citrus juice, and Blue Curacao. These drinks were usually garnished with a single maraschino cherry and a small wedge of pineapple, as well as a small paper umbrella to complete the cocktail’s tropical vibe. 

Long Island Iced Tea

This drink was actually created in the 70s, but it became immensely popular during the 80s, as almost every adult seems to have developed a taste for it. This tea isn’t your grandmother’s iced tea - it’s made with vodka, gin, light rum, tequila, and triple sec; then it’s topped with cola and a dash of sour mix. It goes down smoothly and tastes really good, but be careful. This drink can sneak up on you and get you smashed after the first glass, especially if it’s made too strong. 

Lunchbox Staples

If you grew up during the 80s, then you probably remember drinking a Capri Sun, a Squeezit, or a Hi-C Ecto Cooler in school or while chilling at home. Having a Capri Sun in your lunchbox instantly made you one of the cool kids, and getting the straw in the pouch often resulted in making accidental juice geysers during break time. The Ecto Cooler was essential for those who were a fan of the Ghostbusters cartoons, as this was a product tie-in to the series. Meanwhile, the Squeezit came in eight flavours, and while it had little to no nutritional value, it was still one of the most in-demand drinks amongst 80s kids.

The best drinks from the 80s remind us of a simpler, more innocent and fun time in our lives. See if you can recreate some of these drinks today, and have a wonderful time saying cheers to the 80s!

Hi-C Ecto Cooler TV advert 1989

TV advert from 1989

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