Christmas in the 80s was just amazing, kids today might think it’s amazing now but we know that it was the 80s when Christmas really rocked! But do you remember those things that only ever appeared at Christmas? Here are 8 things you only had at home at Christmas time!
This is the stuff that makes Snowballs! Just add lemonade and you’ve got a delicious alcoholic Christmas Drink that your mum would always let you have a sip of! Advocaat or advocatenborrel is a traditional Dutch alcoholic beverage made from eggs, sugar, and brandy. The rich and creamy drink has a smooth, custard-like consistency. The typical alcohol content is generally somewhere between 14% and 20% ABV. Its contents may be a blend of egg yolks, aromatic spirits, sugar or honey, brandy, vanilla, and sometimes cream (or evaporated milk). Notable makers of advocaat include Bols, Darna Ovo Liker, DeKuyper (sold in two varieties, De Kuyper Advocaat and since the 1995 takeover of Erven Warnink – at the time the leading producer of advocaat – also a version under the brand name Warninks Advocaat), and Verpoorten.
2. Quality Street
Sure we still get these to this day, but look at the size of the tin! These days you get less than half the amount that you got back in the day!
In 1890 John Mackintosh and his wife opened a shop in Halifax, where they created a new kind of sweet by mixing hard toffee with runny caramel. These toffees were made from inexpensive local ingredients such as milk, sugar beets and eggs. They were so successful that in 1898 they expanded the operation to build the world’s first toffee factory. It burned down in 1909 so John bought an old carpet factory and converted it into a new facility. When John Mackintosh died his son Harold inherited the business and in 1936 he invented Quality Street. The name was inspired by a play of the same name by J. M. Barrie.
In the early 1930s only the wealthy could afford boxed chocolates made from exotic ingredients from around the world with elaborate packaging that often cost as much as the chocolates themselves. Harold Mackintosh set out to produce boxes of chocolates that could be sold at a reasonable price and would, therefore, be available to working families. His idea was to cover the different toffees with chocolate and present them in low-cost yet attractive boxes. Rather than having each piece separated in the box, which would require more costly packaging, Mackintosh decided to have each piece individually wrapped in coloured paper and put into a decorative tin. He also introduced new technology, the world’s first twist-wrapping machine, to wrap each chocolate in a distinctive wrapper. By using a tin, instead of a cardboard box, Mackintosh ensured the chocolate aroma burst out as soon as it was opened and the different textures, colours, shapes and sizes of the sweets made opening the tin and consuming its contents a noisy, vibrant experience that the whole family could enjoy.
This was your Mum’s favourite drink right? So why did she only ever have it at Christmas! Everyone loved Babycham except the Dads of course!
Perry had not been a popular drink for some time but when Francis Showering submitted his new drink to the Three Counties Agricultural Show and other agricultural shows in the late 1940s and early 1950s it won prizes. It was initially called “baby champ” which later became Babycham. Launched in the United Kingdom in 1953, Babycham was the first alcoholic product to be advertised on British commercial television, the campaign being launched in 1957, with the drink originally marketed as a “genuine champagne perry”. It was the first alcoholic drink aimed specifically at women and used the catchphrase “I’d Love a Babycham”.
In 1965, the Babycham Company sued the food writer Raymond Postgate, founder of the Good Food Guide, for an article in Holiday magazine in which he warned readers against Babycham, which “looks like champagne and is served in champagne glasses [but] is made of pears”. The company sued for libel, claiming the article implied it was dishonestly passing off Babycham as champagne. The judge in his summation stated that the article was defamatory, but that the jury could consider it as “fair comment” rather than a factual statement. The jury found for Postgate, and he was awarded costs. During the 1960s Showerings stopped brewing beer to concentrate on cider and perry. Production of babycham went from 300 dozen bottles an hour to 2,800. At the peak in 1976 12,000 dozen bottles were being produced each hour. To supply the production line perry pears were planted in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Hereford. Until suitable trees could be grown locally pear juice was imported from Switzerland. The profits helped to pay for the landscaping of the gardens at the company’s headquarters at Kilver Court. In 1978, the Babycham company was sued by French Champagne producers for abuse of their trade name. The case (H P Bulmer Ltd and Showerings Ltd v J Bollinger SA  RPC 79) hinged on the fact that Babycham had been described in advertising as ‘champagne perry’ or ‘champagne cider’. Champagne producers were litigating to protect their goodwill but because there would not actually be confusion, they were unsuccessful.