Last week I visited the Horlicks factory in Slough; today, let's look into the contents of that soothing drink itself. For over a century, it has been promising us a good night's sleep, but what does it actually contain?
Horlicks has its origins in James Horlick's work with the Mellin Company, who made baby food using a drying and concentrating process. Dried malt and bran was sold ready to be mixed with milk and water and fed to baby. Keen to market a new drink based on this process, James joined his brother William in the United States and founded Horlicks.
The consumer originally had to make up Horlicks Food with sterile milk, but it occurred to the brothers that if the milk was included in the dried mixture then it need only be mixed with hot water. Thus Horlicks was born, originally marketed as a complete food for babies and invalids. Its name was changed to Horlicks Malted Milk, although in the 1930s it would become simply Horlicks.
There is one further twist in the story of the Horlicks formula. Since 1960, the drink has been manufactured in India - where buffalo milk is used in place of the original cows' milk.