9 Ιανουαριου

National Apricot Day

Stone Sour

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Stone Sour

Soft velvety skin and sweet juicy flesh with a tart finish. Today we celebrate the humble apricot despite the that in most parts of the world apricots won't be harvested for months.

Cultivated in China and central Asia as far back as 2000 B.C., apricots made their way to Persia by way of the Great Silk Road before Alexander the Great introduced them to Greece. From there, English and Spanish settlers took the apricot to the shores of North America in the seventeenth century. Today most of the world's apricots are grown in the U.S. (where this "National Day" originates).

Did you know?

  • The Apollo 15 astronauts snacked on apricot bars on the Moon's surface
  • Apricot trees can live up to 150 years, producing fruit for 20-25 years of that time
  • Apricots boast a wealth of health benefits: they are an excellent source of vitamins A, E, potassium and iron and they are high in fibre.

Delicious eaten fresh, cooked, canned, preserved or dried, the flesh of the apricot is incredibly versatile and chefs the world over have been experimenting with this humble stone fruit for millennia. Lending itself beautifully to both sweet and savoury dishes, this golden-orange stone fruit can be found in cakes, chutneys, tarts, tagines, pies and stews but perhaps most importantly to us cocktail enthusiasts, it's also used to produce apricot liqueurs and brandies, ingredients found in scores of cocktails. And so we are marking National Apricot Day with a Stone Sour, an apricot-influenced bourbon sour.

Financial Times' birthday

On this day in 1888, James Sheridan and Horatio Bottomley put out a four-page pamphlet, drily entitled the London Financial Guide - a month later, they changed the name to the Financial Times. It took a further five years before the FT adopted its fetching and iconic salmon-coloured hue to distinguish itself from other stockbroker manuals flying around the City.

The change led to its nickname, The Pink 'Un, and a bunch of more-or-less puerile jokes: "What's pink and hard in the morning? The Financial Times crossword..."

Yet since 1979, the FT has been pink and hard enough to be taken seriously and even published internationally. Since 1995, it has had an online presence. And the pink 'un looks more than set to make it all the way to its bicentennial. So we are celebrating it with an appropriately named cocktail, the Pink Palace, from the less citified confines of Beverly Hills.

It's also Richard Nixon's birthday

Born this day in 1913 in small-town California, to a father who ran a service station and owned a small farm, Richard Nixon would rise to become the single most notorious US President.

Which is a bit unfair. "Tricky Dicky", as he was generally known, achieved pioneering environmental and equality legislation, and helped get the US out of Vietnam. But he is, of course, remembered for the Watergate Scandal, where Republican operatives broke into Democrat HQ in a bid to fix the election, and Nixon was caught on tape revealing his knowledge of it.

Forced to resign, he retired to California and, rather like his fellow impeached president, Bill Clinton, began a new life as a foreign policy guru, author and elder statesman. When he died in 1994, around 50,000 people paid tribute to his corpse.

Nixon liked his Martini mixed at a 1:5 ratio of Vermouth to Gin - indeed this was what he drank the evening that the Watergate Scandal drove him out of office. So mix an In-And-Out Martini, and raise a glass to the 37th President of the United States.

It's also the anniversary of printing skeletons

They can print all sorts of stuff today, you know, thanks to 3D printing. The printers build things layer by layer, so it really is closer to growing things than printing. But can you believe we can literally print bones?!

Yep. This day in 2016, a research team released results showing that fake bones "grown" from ceramic powder in a 3D printer can be used to repair injuries. They printed the ceramic scaffold, inserted it into the body, and watched all new bone grow over the top. And they are not the only doctors working with printers.

We are celebrating this frankly unnerving development with a drink we discovered in Harry Craddock's classic cocktail book, a White Cargo. They can always print us a new liver, right?

It's also the day the world's first urban climber was arrested

The words buildering, edificeering, urban climbing, structuring and stegophily now refer to the act of climbing the outside of a building or artificial structure, but over a hundred years ago the concept was brand-new and unnamed.

One of the first urban climbers, an American named George Gibson Polley, famously known as the Human Fly, was watched by thousands of onlookers on this day in 1920 as he attempted to climb the 57 floors of the Woolworth building in New York City. He was arrested when he reached the 30th floor.

Over his career Polley climbed over two thousand buildings, often spicing up his performances by pretending to slip and fall from one windowsill to another. We're guessing George was having quite a ball up on those buildings so today we're toasting him with an appropriately named Whiskey Tea Highball.

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