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For our feature this month, we are delving into the archives and wallowing in a bit of nostalgia. Never mind your Playstations and Xboxes, remember the time of Space Invaders and Pac Man and of the golden age of toys for the boys and worship at the temple of Scalextric!

Did you know that in 1952 a small company called Minimodels Limited launched a collection of metal model racing cars which contained a clockwork motor? The cars were invented by Mr B Francis and the trademark was known as SCALEX.

By 1956 – the novelty of clockwork cars was wearing off and Mr Francis started looking for new ways to develop his invention. He saw a demonstration of electrically operated cars running on a track and straight away recognised the potential for his clockwork cars modifying them to incorporate an electric motor. He also developed a track system made with rubber with parallel grooves in which metal rails were able to carry the electric current to guide the cars around the circuit by means of a “gimbal” wheel suspended underneath. The new product was called Scalextric (a combination of Scalex and electric) and unveiled at the Harrogate Toy Fair in 1957. It became an incredible success.

In November 1958 Minimodels Limited was sold to the Tri-ang Group who began a huge plan of improvements to the range including new cars complete with motors and made with moulded plastic bodies. A new controller with a hand speed throttle and track sections and buildings enabling authentic reproductions of real race tracks were part of the developments. Perhaps the most significant change was in 1963 from a rubber to a polyethelene track – allowing for moulding to take place in the factory which considerably reduced the production costs involved.

From then on there was no stopping the popularity of this fabulous toy – often considered too good for the kids to play with!! Adults of a certain age will always remember the childhood aromas of hot electric motors and the brightly coloured hand controls with Scalextric – or begging parents and relatives to repeatedly put cars that have flown off one of the bends back on to the track. Oh the joy of filling the living room with endless track formations and competitions between family and friends trying to do the fastest lap times, going round without flying off the track or the first to do 50 laps … So what are you waiting for? Dig out your childhood racing track and treat yourself to some of the latest model cars (yes of course they still make them!) and invite all your friends round for a Scalextric evening pretending to be at Silverstone!
Our suggested cocktail recipes this month have a racing theme and would be the perfect accompaniment to an evening of Scalextric racing games at home.

Fine and Dandy

Fine and DandyFor an uplifting start to your games evening, how about trying out a Fine and Dandy cocktail? This is a dry combination of gin, De Kuyper Triple Sec, a dash of Angostura Bitters and orange juice resulting in a bitter sweet tasting cocktail with a sublime taste.

Traffic Light

Traffic LightContinuing with our driving game theme, why not make up a Traffic Light cocktail? You’ll need a steady hand though to build the layers of Midori melon liqueur, Disaronno Amaretto and De Kuyper Cranberry liqueur on top of each other for the stunning traffic light colour effect.

Sidecar

SidecarIf you prefer to your driving games to include motorbikes then this could be the cocktail for you. Why not try a classic Sidecar? This recipe includes 2 shots of cognac, mixed with half a shot of De Kuyper Triple Sec, half a shot of freshly squeezed lemon juice and half a shot of chilled water.

Downhill Racer

Downhill RacerProbably more suited to a driving game for rally cars bouncing up and down the muddy track on hilly circuits … the Downhill Racer cocktail is a cool combination. This is a deliciously fruity concoction with Disaronno Amaretto, light rum, pineapple juice and a generous dash of lime.

Champagne Charlie

Champagne CharlieWhat better way to celebrate victory in your own home championship racing tournament by enjoying a Champagne Charlie cocktail? Never mind spraying it over everyone like they do on the Grand Prix winners’ podium (what a waste of a decent cocktail ingredient!), pour a shot of De Kuyper Apricot Brandy into a champagne flute and top it up with champagne.

Always remember: in-the-spirit recommends enjoying all cocktail recipes listed in moderation.

 
   
 

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