Manchester, with its rich history and unique traditions, has a special place in its heart for the “Hot Blob.”
A super sweet concoction served piping hot, this iconic drink has been a source of comfort, warmth, and camaraderie for generations of Mancunians.
In this journey through time, we delve into the fascinating history of the Hot Blob and its deep-rooted connection to Manchester.
The Origin: Yates’s Wine Lodge and the Birth of the Hot Blob
It all began with Yates’s Wine Lodge, a pub chain founded in Oldham in 1884.
This establishment, with its charming Victorian-style interiors, introduced the world to a warming elixir known as the “Hot Blob” or “Yates’s Blob”
This concoction, made from Australian fortified white wine, lemon, sugar, and boiling water, was the brainchild of Yates and became a staple in the heart of Manchester.
A Sweet Tradition: The Hot Blob’s Unique Flavour
The Hot Blob is famous for its jaw-dropping sweetness and comforting warmth.
This hot beverage often likened to a hot toddy, has been the perfect companion on chilly Manchester evenings for many.
The combination of flavours, from the zesty lemon to the rich wine, has delighted the palates of countless patrons, offering a unique and memorable taste of the city.
A Cure for the Cold?
Blobs are believed by many customers to be a “cure” for cold weather and common colds.
Some doctors might challenge that but there’s no doubt they were a huge hit and took the edge of a chilly winter night.
But best be careful, back in 2012 a man was caught drunk driving after sinking two hot blobs when he was caught by eagle-eyed policemen.
Fortified wine can be seriously potent.
The Blob Shop
In bygone days, a ‘Yates’s Blob Shop’ could be found at 36 High Street, under the capable stewardship of local legend Ged Ford, who currently presides over the equally famed Millstone pub.
Rayne Myrick, who used to work at the Blob Shop in1986, shared their memories of the place.
They said: “It was large like the tardis, the shop was accessible from the bar & me & Kathie would chat over my lunch.
“She never took a break but relaxed between customers, except when Beaujolais nouveau went on sale!
“Every available space was packed with cases.
“Toilets were down some steep steps, about 20.
“We would find a lot of stolen purses in the gents as it was near the front door.
“Ladies was near the rear. There was a large raised seating area in the centre in a horseshoe surrounding the main seating area
“Customers in the day were pensioners & barrow boys from the outdoor market round the corner.
“Nights were mainly young adults, they would test me by making huge orders of blobs.
“We had a couple of wooden rails at the bar to enforce a queue, when a new manager had them removed nobody was happy, as it became mayhem with customers shouting to get served.
“My Nana worked in one of the other Yates on Oldham Rd, I think it was. We called them top, middle & bottom (she worked in the bottom one when they still had a separate tap room!
“Between the shop & bar was the kitchen next to the stairs to the office & the beer cellar. I changed the barrels when empty.
We had 2 bouncers on Fri & Sat nights.
“We had a sherry tuition 1 night after closing. Going to the loo after that was dangerous.
“The actor whose surname is Thewlis was a regular before becoming a busy actor.
“I got the job on a Sat night. Talked to the manager whilst drunk & he told me to start the next day.”
There was also a blob shop under where the Matt and Phreds unit is today.
The Hot Blob’s Golden Era
Back in the 1990s, the Hot Blob was not just a drink; it was a Manchester institution.
Pubs all around town proudly featured this beloved concoction on their menus, and it was a favourite among young and seasoned drinkers alike.
It had a reputation for its ability to “speed up drunkenness to a young drinker,” making it a nostalgic memory for those who experienced its potent charm.
The ‘Blob Shop’ Legacy
A true testament to the Hot Blob’s popularity, there used to be a ‘Blob Shop’ on High Street, run by local legend Ged Ford.
This establishment was a haven for those seeking ‘cheap wine, cheap beer, and plenty of blobs.’
Ged sold an astonishing 6,000 Hot Blobs a week, making it a bustling hub of Manchester’s social life.
A City’s Resilience and Tradition
The story of the Hot Blob isn’t just about a drink; it’s a tale of Manchester’s preservation of cherished traditions.
The Hot Blob was more than just a beverage; it was a warm embrace during Manchester’s colder days, a testament to the city’s enduring spirit.
Though it may be rare to find a Hot Blob on a modern-day menu, its legacy lives on in the memories of those who sipped this delectable brew in the heart of Manchester.
As Manchester continues to evolve, it’s important to pause and reflect on the traditions that have shaped the city’s identity.
The Hot Blob, with its unique flavour and rich history, is a reminder of Manchester’s enduring charm.
In the spirit of nostalgia, we raise a toast to the Hot Blob and the unforgettable moments it created for the people of Manchester.
Do you know anywhere that still sells a Hot Blob? What are your memories of Yates’s Blob Shop?
Get in touch! [email protected]