Me and Vimto go back along way:
I invented the Vimto milkshake in the late 1970s, it’s true, just ask my Sister. I’ve Googled it tonight and although I can find some other references to it no one would have thought to make such a drink back then. 1 part vimto to about 5 parts milk and it needed to be blended because back in the days before semi-skimmed milk bought from the supermarket you were playing a form of Russian Roulette with the full fat milk you found in our mum’s fridge. Once a week there would be a pint that had been left out too long on the doorstep, the cream would have risen to the top and your VM would taste rank. The solution was to dig out the 1968 edition Moulinex Masterchef blender which was a real bugger to clean afterwards but it was always worth the effort.
I experimented with fizzy Vimto before it was made commercially available. Because the Alpine Pop wagon never stopped at our door I resorted to mixing Vimto with soda water from Mum and Dad’s syphon (I don’t believe the device was ever used for anything else). The result was a wonderfully effervescent beverage that tasted absolutely mingin’. In later years we also had budget lemonade in the pantry as well as cordials so I mixed that with Vimto, but twas sickly sweet (diet lemonade didn’t exist then).
"Jungle juice" was what you turned to as you were running low on the red stuff; half and half Vimto and orange cordial. Whatever happened to Quosh BTW? Not that we had that or Robinson’s, budget Presto stuff we had (AND we were happy with it too!) though occassionally dad would go a bit crazy and buy Ki-ora instead.
Moving on to 1989 and I was trying to educate the palates of some of my new southern friends at University (I also introduced them to Newky Brown just as it went national on the back of Viz’s popularity). There were some adverts running on the TV for Vimto and I passed comment on the attractive appearance of a girl in the advert, weeks later I received a rejection letter of sorts from the model together with a brouchure on the history of JP Nichols and the Vimto range AND a cutting from the film reel used in the advert. Result! One of my new friends had kindly written "on my behalf". I can’t begin to imagine what that film reel might fetch on e-bay today, not that I’d ever part with it you understand.
Back up north a few years later I was sharing a house with a mate and I realised that the reason we got on so famously was we had a mutual appreciation for the red nectar (and scalextric too). Turns out that at university his chat up line was that he was called Jononi Vimtoni (a lie) and was the nephew of the inventor of Vimto (sadly also a lie). The ladies loved that, together with his slightly rugged, swarthy mediterrean good looks (though he and several generations before him were from Bolton). We had an optic in our kitchen with Vimto on tap, we didn’t even have to unscrew the bottle-top – oh happy days!
These days I’m developing an isotonic Vimto performance drink. When cycling you need to replace fluids and energy, therefore you need the full fat version of Vimto (harder to find these days I can tell you!). Now here’s the science bit: to re-hydrate quickly you need a balance of salts and minerials in the drink to match that in your body. So (here’s the clever bit) I add a couple of pinches of table salt – hey presto Isotonic Vimto! I can’t see Michael Owen switching to it though.
And before anyone thinks they’re clever I already know it’s an anagram of vomit.
‘bena’s for babies, real men drink Vimto!