Why Vimto became a Ramadan tradition in the Middle East
Those who've spent many a Ramadan in the Middle East know that without Vimto, an Iftar is incomplete. It has become the drink of choice for those breaking their fast at Iftar and for the non-believers out there, this fact is backed by some cold, hard stats.
The drink is so popular that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE are the highest consumers of Vimto in the world outside of the UK.
So how did this come to be?
Esquire Middle East has previously written about the fizzy berry-flavoured drink and said that while it was first manufactured in Manchester back in 1908, "Vimtonic" - or Vimto as it was later nicknamed, the drink first became popular in the UK.
The drink celebrated its 110th birthday in 2018 and was the brain child of John Nichols. He created Vimto. in 1908 as a herbal tonic, “that gave the drinker ‘vim and vigour’”. Vimto was originally registered as a medicine and was re-registered as just a beverage just a few years later.
The drink slowly spread to India and Sri Lanka during World War 1 when British troops stationed in those countries took bottles of the drink on their tours of duty abroad.
But it was only in 1927 that the drink was then introduced in the region by Saudi Arabian company Abdulla Aujan & Brothers and there's been no looking back for the drink since then.
Vimto has soared in popularity and the success of the drink is thought to have come from a combination of its sweet, high-sugar taste that would give those adhering to the Ramadan fast an energy boost during iftar, and the introduction of the alcohol restrictions within Saudi Arabia.
But the drink is still popular in Britain even today. Scores of Brits have opted to start using Vimto to create homemade cocktails as the country faces days and weeks of lockdown.
While no one has been able to pinpoint why exactly the drink is so popular in the region, making it a Ramadan staple, its sugar content is widely regarded as the reason why it has become a go-to Iftar beverage.
Many believe it's because those adhering to the Ramadan fast require a quick energy boost at sundown, which prompted its introduction to Iftar tables around the Gulf.