Once chilled I grasped the bottle top and twisted the lid, the hiss of the carbonated elixir pffst, and as I removed the lid I caught a familiar whiff of the dark, golden brown liquid. Pouring only half a glass – because I couldn’t remember if I actually liked what I was about to taste. I lifted the glass to my lips and the smell of cough syrup sprang to mind, but the taste on the palate was an explosion of memories.
This first sip brought back memories of bullilicious bubble gum (always a must in my 10 pence sweetie mixture bought from the local newsagent on the way to school), the more I drank the fizzy mixture the taste of bubble gum was combined with treacle and Covonia cough syrup. This traditional drink will as Barr’s claim on the bottle ” Give you a cosy glow as you remember how pop used to taste”. Do not snub this unorthodox beverage, it’s like Marmite, you either love it or hate it and I have to say I still love it !
In stark contrast to my trip down memory lane, I sat the bottle of Dandelion and Burdock next to the very modern 2 Litre bottle of Irn-Bru. This orange fizzy drink is also made by Barr’s and is synonymous with Scotland. The tagline for Irn-Bru when I was little, was “Made in Scotland fae Girders”, due to the bru recipe listing Ferric Nitrate as one of its ingredients. The reference in Barr’s tagline to Girders or iron bars in Irn-Bru advertisements can also be related to Scotland’s history of shipbuilding.
But you don’t need to buy a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock to remember the shipbuilding past on the River Clyde. Shipbuilding and dockland memories have been brought to life by artist Raymond Murray. He is still close to his roots having been born in the shipbuilding town of Greenock, and memories of which still inspire some of his work.