Remember Mabel? The marvellous 100-year-old we all took to our hearts when we read how she swore the secret to long life was drinking six gin-and-tonics a day. She declared: “I have two at lunchtime, one at tea-time with a biscuit, and then three more during the evening while I do my knitting. I swear the gin keeps me young!” She even calculated that, as it took her a week to get through a bottle, she had consumed 4,264 bottles since she started drinking! I am the bearer of bad news. I am mourning Mabel. Mabel is no more. For she never was.
Her story was retold far and wide, from The Drinks Business to Cosmopolitan, and beyond the UK to Belgium and Hungary. However, it was recently revealed that she was no more than a hoax. The oldies are the best after all.
Edinburgh’s Pickering’s Gin recently held a competition on their Facebook page to name their trusty labelling machine which had been in action since 2014. Having only ever been intended to label batch 1, the machine has now labelled over 100 before being replaced imminently. The prize was the last-ever bottle to be labelled by the rickety contraption.
Always keen to add to my ever expanding gin collection I suggested they named the glorious machine after Mabel Jackson – a fellow aged, and presumably rickety, gin lover. Pickering’s loved the suggestion and decided that the only worthy recipient of the last bottle to be labelled by Mabel … was Mabel herself. They promised everyone who suggested the name miniature bottles while they endeavoured to locate the real Mabel.
Then came the bad news. In what they admitted was a “truly unexpected and forehead-slapping twist in the tale”, they discovered that the original article about Mabel originated in the Suffolk Gazette; a spoof newspaper! We had all been had.
That, however, is not the end of the story. Pickering’s have decided to honour Mabel Jackson by auctioning the last bottle to be labelled by Mabel The Labeller at the Age Scotland Annual Silver Shindig, with all proceeds going to the charity.
And the Suffolk Gazette have, of course, announced Mabel’s passing; a result of alcoholic poisoning after downing too many bottles of free gin sent by kind-hearted distilleries!
Mabel may be gone but her spirit lives on in us all.