11 September

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Anniversary of 9/11

So we are drinking a...

Manhattan Sweet

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Today’s date is a particularly sad one. It is the anniversary of 9/11, when Saudi terrorists affiliated to Osama Bin Laden flew two planes into the World Trade Center and crashed a third into the Pentagon.


It was the first time since Pearl Harbor that the US had experienced an attack on its own soil, and the consequences were devastating. Not only for New Yorkers but for civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the soldiers - some of which are still there.

After London, New York is our favourite city, so, as the ceremonies commence in Manhattan and the papers fill with reminiscences, we will be drinking a, well, Manhattan. Served, in memory of the Twin Towers that were, with two cherries, not one.

Umbrella Stabbing


On this day, in 1978, Georgi Markov died of blood poisoning, four days after being stabbed by an umbrella on London's Waterloo Bridge.

A writer and broadcaster, Markov had defected from Bulgaria to the West in 1969. He was on the way to the BBC at the time, where he often made critical broadcasts about the communist regime in his home country. That day he said he had felt a stinging pain in his leg while waiting for a bus and turned to see an unidentified man picking up an umbrella. In 1998 the Bulgarian President, Peter Stoyanov, described the assassination as one of the darkest moments in his country's former communist regime. But it wasn't until 2005 when Francesco Giullino, a Dane who had been recruited by Durzgavna Sigurnost, was revealed as the assailant.

In honour of Georgi Markov, who used the power of speech and words to fight for freedom, we're drinking a Waterloo Sunset, champagne, gin and a dash of raspberry liqueur.

Battle of Stirling Bridge


In Mel Gibson's epic medieval drama Braveheart, there's an iconic scene where English knights in chain mail charge Mel's apparently defenceless Scottish warriors, only to be bloodily impaled on a forest of spikes.

The Battle of Stirling Bridge, on this day in 1297, didn't happen exactly like that, but it was a game-changer - not just for the Scots leader William Wallace, but for knights around Europe. Until that day, a charge by heavily armoured knights had been considered as invincible as tanks were during World War I; after that, the rich were as vulnerable as the poor peasants who followed in their wake. We are toasting Wallace, and Scotland in general, with a Highlander, a suitably Scottish blend of Scotch, vermouth and bitters.

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