My Life As A Drunk – Not Really

Tonight at the pub with friends, I mentioned how I’d seen KB for sale in cans at the Strawberry Hills Hotel last night.

I had no idea KB was still manufactured and sold. There was a time in the early 80s, however, when it was probably the most popular beer in New South Wales, especially with its association with sport. I’ve never tasted a KB in my life, as it was popular mostly before I began to drink (in my late teens), so I don’t know if it was a good beer or not. So for a moment last night I was tempted to buy a can just to give it a try.

When I mentioned it to my mates at the pub tonight there was a welcome fondness for the beer and the brand. We then got involved in a discussion about other no-longer-popular drinks from our youth and began to compile a bit of a mental list.

Long before alco-pops, there were West Coast Coolers. They were very popular in the mid 80s during my time in Brisbane as I recall. As university students we all thought we were very cool, very with it.

Midori and Lemonade – again, this was from the mid 80s during my time in Brisbane. In hindsight, I can’t think of how I didn’t end up in a diabetic coma after every drink.

Carlton Cold – that was a massively popular beer for a while in the early to late 90s as I recall. Graeme theorised it went out of popularity because of a label change.

Sub Zeros – they were also a 90s thing, as I recall.

Graeme also mentioned a combination of Coopers Stout and Lemonade that was popular in South Australia for a while, though I can’t recall the exact name they gave to it.

And that’s about when we ran out of steam in the conversation. I thought by posting it here, it might inspire a few other people to record memories of drinks which were popular for a while, but which are now largely forgotten.

13 Replies to “My Life As A Drunk – Not Really”

  1. Lemon Ruskis were, to my mind, the first popular alcopop. I remember my mum drinking them sometimes, and allowing 13-year-old me to have a sip! I felt very mature.

    I was going to say Malibu and pineapple juice, but I think that will always be popular, but only among underage drinkers!

    1. OMG I’d forgotten Lemon Ruskis. I worked with someone who was completely addicted to them. Malibu and pineapple juice? I don’t think I ever drank that. My memory has “southern comfort and coke” as the under-age drink of choice in the 1980s.

  2. ‘I really like the way you say, Carlton Cold’, so said a barmen to me at Jocks. I smiled back politely, not realising it was a pick up line. I has so forgotten about Sub Zeros. The rest I remember. You being a youngun would not have know about Porhery Pearl, Cinzano and coke, spumante (spewmante), Screwdriver, Advocat, Oh, I can turn this into a diary post of my own.

    1. Oh no, I definitely remember spumante. For me, it’s synonymous with “passion pop”. Many years ago, I recall being at The Vines at the Berri Hotel in SA and my group of friends having won a few bottles of “champagne” in a trivia competiton. When we went up to collect the “champagne”, we discovered it was actually “passion pop”. Oh dear. It reminds me of the time when I bought “payless champagne” (payless was a supermarket chain specialising in low socio income outback towns). I remember Cinzano also, and of course Claytons, the drink you have when you’re not having a drink… but Porhery Pearl is before my time.

  3. Fruity Lexia was popular in the late 80s. Also, Summer Wine. One bottle was enough to last all night – I recall carrying more than one friend home in a less than ideal state after a night on the wines. I lived in mining towns so beer and Bundaberg Rum were the blokes drinks. And by beer I mean VB or Carlton Draught, nothing that had fancy labels or names.

  4. Hi James
    I noted this question of yours is still unanswered, and I offer this explanation. Sorry it is a bit late.


    “Graeme also mentioned a combination of Coopers Stout and Lemonade that was popular in South Australia for a while, though I can’t recall the exact name they gave to it.”


    “In Australia: Portagaff is made with a 1:2 or 1:1 mixture of lemonade and stout. Particularly popular in South Australia. Sometimes called a Black Shandy.”

    see: “Shandy >From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    A shandy, or shandygaff, is beer mixed with citrus-flavored soda, carbonated lemonade, ginger beer, ginger ale, or cider. The proportions of the two ingredients are adjusted to taste, normally half-and-half. There are also non-alcoholic shandy mixes known as “rock shandies”.
    A shandy containing beer and cider is called a snakebite.”

  5. I have asked for a portagaff a few times at pubs on the mid north coat of nsw and have now given up and ask for a Shandy of guiness and Lemonade50/50. Oh well!!!!

  6. Came across this when memories of my mother were being discussed and I was looking for the mix for a portagaff . . I’m 80 years old [in Tasmania] and the portagaff was my mother’s drink of choice . . if she had to have one – she only had alcohol on special occasions . . . but her’s was a mix of port and lemonade – probably 50/50 and in a shortish glass. . . It was probably only a local usage of the ‘portagaff’ name, though.
    Thanks everyone for the other information.
    Marg C

  7. oops. senior moment. I should have said that the period referred to was around 1948-50ish as an aunt worked at the local hotel at that time, and Mum sometimes had a drink with her after work.

  8. In sth australia we call coopers stout and lemonade a portagaff. Had a great ad years ago on tv for it. 😊😊

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: