13 February

Pink Palace image

Barbie went on sale today

So we are drinking a...

Pink Palace

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From a humble toy manufacturer came one of the world’s biggest brands, Barbie, or to give the doll her full name, Barbara Millicent Roberts.

Barbie was conceived by Ruth Handler when she noticed her daughter giving adult characters to her dolls, who in those days were all modelled after children. Ruth's husband was a co-founder of the Mattel toy company, which still produces Barbie and her extended family today.

The first Barbie doll was sold today in 1959, wearing a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail, and was available as either a blonde or brunette. We're toasting over half a century of playtime with Barbie by mixing a Pink Palace, a drink we're sure Barbara would enjoy.

Also, on this day in 1944, as some of the last German bombs of the Second World War dropped on London, a woman sheltering in Highgate Tube Station gave birth to a boy she would call Gerald Norman Springer.

Soon the family emigrated to the US, where little Jerry grew up into a political activist who worked with JFK, and progressed all the way to Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio. Amazingly, he not only survived a scandal where he was caught paying a prostitute with a bouncing cheque but was actually re-elected after it. Today, of course, we know Jerry as the host of The Jerry Springer Show. It started life as a fairly serious political chat show, but achieved success thanks to guests such as the man who married his horse, the adult baby, and a million and one redneck love triangles, making Springer a multi-millionaire. And, mercifully, the man takes neither himself nor his show too seriously: "It has no redeeming social value," he says. "It's just like chewing gum." Happy Birthday, Jerry! We're toasting you with a French Spring 'er' Punch.

Today is also Get A Different Name Day. As the Turkish gentleman who endeavoured to become an American citizen under his birth name of Ufuk, and a surname pronounced Mycat, could tell you, and as Shakespeare mentioned on several occasions, names matter.

And never is this more true than in the world of cocktails. One can pretty much guarantee that anything with a colour that's not silver or gold in the name will be hard to drink, and let's not start on concoctions with the word "sex" in the title. So if you hate your first name, today is for you: it's Get A Different Name Day. And, if you've created a great drink that nobody seems to be ordering, today can also be "Rename Your Cocktail" day. Where to start? Thesauruses are always good, as are movies and song titles. Or, pay homage to an earlier drink with the name of yours. You're welcome! And, while we're on the subject, do please help us out with a new name for one of the nicer Daiquiris out there. It's currently called "Pink".

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