WHEN bosses at a fruit farm devised a healthy alternative to ice-cream, the lager-swilling rugby player, paralytic student and carefree party girl markets were not the ones they had in mind.
But the fat-free dessert, which counts as one of five recommended daily servings of fruit and veg, has won a following among an unlikely clientele after its qualities as a hangover cure and alcoholic cocktail ingredient were discovered.
News of the supposedly restorative qualities of the product, called IceDelight, have spread throughout the Capital, leading to it developing a cult following from the city’s rugby players and students who stock up on the fruity dessert after heavy nights out.
And bars and clubs in trendy George Street have also introduced it in cocktails, with some revellers believing that the sorbet-style pudding will act as a pre-emptive strike against potential hangovers, even when laced with alcohol.
Mark Rennie, the owner of Belhaven Fruit Farm near Dunbar which produces Ice Delight, said he was surprised but delighted to have stumbled upon a hangover remedy.
He said: “Our mission was to make a fat-free, dairy-free dessert, and when we started we just wanted to get it out there as a way to get one of your five-a-day.
“But then some of the students got hold of it. We’re not sure how it came about but we started getting quite a few e-mails saying it’s the best hangover cure, and it’s been selling really well in student areas.
“I was definitely shocked, it wasn’t anticipated at all. But whatever it’s used for it’s still healthy so we’re delighted if it’s helping people feel a bit better the morning after they’ve had a few too many.”
Scientists believe hangovers are caused by a combination of dehydration, vitamin A, B and C depletion and the toxic by-product acetaldehyde, which is released as a result of alcohol being broken down by the body.
Researchers at Queen Margaret University have found that the dessert retains the vitamin levels of the fresh fruit.
The results possibly explain why it is believed to combat hangovers as lost nutrients are replaced.
The lemon variety of the dessert has proved particularly popular, the farm says, perhaps because of its high vitamin C levels and the fact that citrus is known to combat nausea.
Mr Rennie added: “We know the properties of the fruit don’t change, so it’s got the same vitamin content and works as an antioxidant. But people don’t want to eat three lemons or a plate of blackcurrants the morning after a big night out so maybe that explains its appeal.”
He also said the product’s high vitamin levels have led to it being used as a cold and flu remedy, for the same reason that fresh fruit is recommended to those feeling unwell.
Tommy Hart, a centre for Watsonians Rugby Club who also works as a mixologist, said: “I work as a barman in the Blackbird in Tollcross and have begun trialling IceDelight in some of our cocktail recipes, which are proving really popular.”
There’s no simple cure
SURGEONS can transplant our vital organs while once-fatal conditions can be cured with a simple pill – but there is no proven hangover cure.
The best way to avoid one is not to drink to excess, but with the Christmas party season upon us, it’s inevitable that many will choose to drink.
Don’t despair, a series of modern “cures” is being developed, if a bacon sarnie, black coffee or hair of the dog are a bit too last year. The latest fad is a patch developed by US firm Bytox which, it is claimed, replenishes vitamins and acids that are lost while drinking. It recently went on sale in the UK.
In Las Vegas, a “hangover heaven” bus offers an intravenous treatment that claims to eliminate 90 per cent of hangovers in 45 minutes.