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Canada Day

Bloody Caesar

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Bloody Caesar

Canada Day, or Fête du Canada if you're a French speaker, is the national day of Canada and a federal statutory holiday. It celebrates the anniversary of the Canadian Confederation on 1st July 1867 when the British North America Act united the previously three separate colonies of the United Canadas, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into Canada, a single dominion within the British Empire.

Celebrations across the country include parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, fireworks and concerts. We'll be celebrating in our own way, starting with Canada's virtual national drink, the Bloody Caeser and then one of these cocktails named after Canadian cites/towns:

Or perhaps one of these popular Canadian cocktails:

Tour de France

On this day in 1903 at 3:16 pm, 60 competitors set off on the first Tour de France. Only 21 riders would finish back in Paris on 19 July.

The race comprised just six gruelling stages, and riders who averaged at least 20 kph (12 mph) on all stages were paid a daily allowance equivalent to a factory wage. The event was dominated and won by "the Little Chimney Sweep" Maurice Garin, and the last finisher came in two days after him.

By the following year, the competition was already arousing the passions that surround it today, with riders being attacked by spectators and others handicapped by felled trees. Garin said, "I'll win the Tour de France provided I'm not murdered before we get to Paris." He did win in 1904 but was later stripped of his title for cheating.

Today the race consists of 21-day-long stages held over a 23-day period and covers around 3,500 kilometres (2,175 miles). It alternates between clockwise and anticlockwise circuits of France and includes stages in neighbouring countries. Each stage is timed, and the rider with the lowest aggregate time is known as the leader of the race and can wear the coveted maillot jaune (yellow jersey).

Today we'll be raising a cocktail appropriately named La Bicyclette and wishing the best to all involved in this year's Tour.

Birthday of the world's biggest circulation magazine

The world's most widely circulated magazine launched this day in 1879. The bimonthly churns out over 62 million copies in over 303 languages.

You've almost certainly seen it. You may even have read it. It is, of course, The Watchtower, the missionary publication produced by the Jehovah's Witnesses - whose religion requires that they go from door to door converting people, even though there's only room in heaven for 144,000 of us, who will all be physically resurrected with a brand new body.

Although we worship a different kind of spirit we do love magazines, both print and digital. So we're raising a glass of The Journalist. Cheers!

The Third Man

On this day in 1963 the former British Foreign Office official, Harold "Kim" Philby admitted that he had been a Soviet double agent, the mysterious "Third Man" who had protected the double agents Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean.

Philby's career had almost certainly led to the death of tens, if not hundreds of agents, sent into the recently-formed Communist states by MI6 and the CIA, before he defected to Moscow from Beirut. After Philby, there would be more betrayals: the Fourth Man, Anthony Blunt, and the Fifth Man, John Cairncross, but it is Philby, the Third Man, whose name has gone down in history.

Philby didn't find the paradise he hoped for in the Communist state he had served all his career, although he did marry a Russian wife. He was shocked by the poverty that surrounded him, and drowned his sorrows in vodka. We are drinking to capitalism and keeping secrets with a Silent Third.

Doctor's Day

In India, today is Doctor's Day, when patients are encouraged to send their doctors cards, the medical profession holds dinners and the most diligent citizens send flowers to their favourite medic.

The Indian government works hard to raise awareness of Doctor's Day, which has been celebrated for 20 years today. India isn't the easiest place to be a doctor. Medics have been subject to public violence when they have done wrong - or been seen to do so - and corruption is a major issue in healthcare as elsewhere.

Why today? Well, this is the birthday (and day of death) of India's most celebrated doctor, Dr. B. C. Roy, who was also a politician and ally of Gandhi. We won't be sending any cards today, but we will be raising a toast to medics, not just in India but all around the globe, with our preferred version of a vintage cocktail, the Doctor No.1.

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