What were we drinking in 1975 and 1955

As part of my countdown to 1215 and signing of the Magna Carta here is what we were drinking in 1975…

What were we drinking in 1975?

Andy Hamilton in 1970s gear
Who is that dude?

In the UK the rot has started to set in and Lager sales were taking over. Only 2% of the market in 1965 but by 1975 lager sales shot up to 20% and by the end of the hot summer of 1976 they represented 29% of the market. This wasn’t good lager by a long chalk this was mass-produced tasteless rubbish. In fact, one of the most popular brands of the day is the only beer I have ever actually gagged whilst drinking and it stayed shite until the bottom of the glass.

Cocktails – The cosmopolitan

There was a similar cocktail around in the 1930’s yet the Cosmopolitan took its name and it’s place in popular consciousness in 1975. The modern creation was created by Neal Murray* a bartender at the Cork and Cleaver Restaurant in Golden Valley, Minnesota. It’s popularity spread across the states and then took on the world. It’s place firmly established by the aging drag queens in the 1990’s American drama series Sex in the City.


4 parts vodka
1 part Cointreau
1.5 parts cranberry juice
1 part fresh lime juice
orange peels/twists to garnish

Preparation method

Place all the wet ingredients into an ice filled shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a Martin Glass and garnish with the twist.

* A Claim that is hotly disputed by some.

Other drinks popular in the 1970’s included Babycham, a sparkling Perry with a deer logo. Cans of Party 7 which were cans that held seven Imperial pints of ale. And who could forget the most sophisticated wines of all time, Blue Nun and Black Tower.


You can certainly see why Emmet Brown invented the Flux capacitor in this year as it was rife with creativity. A young Jim Henson made his first Kermit, Disneyland first opened. ITV, the stalwart of shite on British TV, first started and Cardiff was declared capital of Wales. But what were we drinking?

Drinks of 1955

A time when people were sold the lie that mass-produced crap was going to change the world. If old films and telly are to be believed we all wanted was dinner in pill form and robots servings us space aged drinks. The reality wasn’t quite the same.

Black Russian

Black Russian invented at the end of the forties/early fifties the black Russian was one of the many vodka based cocktails popular in the fifties. It was invented by Gustave Tops who worked the bar at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. Which makes the Black Russian more Belgium than it does Russian.

Writing this has just reminded me of a house party 20 years ago where the host had just discovered this exotic drink. It was a great party, but an appalling hangover.

Tradition dictates that a black Russian should be one part of Vodka to one part of Kailua, but a two to one ratio yields a dry, and in my opinion superior, drink. To turn it into a white Russian just add 1 part double cream, which for some reason in the States is called “Heavy” cream.

2 parts Vodka
1 part Kailua

Special Brew

Actually invented in 1952 to celebrate Winston Churchill’s visit to Copenhagen and although only anecdotal I love the idea that after taking his first sip he exclaimed, “this is indeed a special brew”. He then apparently started asking everyone for spare change in order to get his next can. Special Brew holds a place in my heart as it was brewed in my home town of Northampton and if you stood down wind of the Carlsberg Brewery during brewing days you’d get a face-full of its acidity.