In the words of the BBC, "other brands are available", but it is impossible to tell the story of Have a Coke Day without mentioning one of the biggest and most well-known drinks brands in the world, Coca-Cola, which was created on the 8th May 1886.
From a medicinal drink originally laced with cocaine to the most consumed soft drink in the world, Coca-Cola has grown at a rapid rate since its conception in 1886. Originally created by Dr. John Pemberton and sold at Jacobs' Pharmacy in Atlanta, nowadays you'd be hard-pressed to find somewhere that doesn't sell Coca-Cola, although you might not find it in your local pharmacy anymore. The name comes from two of the original ingredients, coca leaves and kola nuts (the caffeine source).
With many classic TV ads over the years such as the I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke advert in 1971 and the classic Christmas ad with the Coca-Cola Christmas trucks, the brand has found ways to firmly place itself into their consumers lives and become a household name.
Not only is it enjoyed by millions on its own, with options other than just the original recipe such as Diet, Zero, flavoured and non-caffeinated, it is also a popular accompaniment for many spirits and can be found as an ingredient in 70 cocktails on Difford's Guide, including the popular Piscola.
Its secret recipe can also be used as a household aid and if you'd rather use this national day to remove some rust, clean some grouting or kill some slugs, feel free to do that as well. It is indeed a versatile cocktail mixer!
It is hard to imagine an era before the Red Cross. Not so much for the minutiae of life, such as First Aid training and cleaning cuts and grazes. But for its role on the battlefield.
Before Henry Dunant created the Red Cross in 1863, there was no agreed system for treating casualties on the battlefield. The wounded were picked up as best they could by colleagues, under fire unless a truce had been negotiated, and many did not survive the wait for assistance.
We have the Red Cross to thank for the Geneva Convention, which, in 1864, began to define what was acceptable and unacceptable in times of war, something we still struggle with today.
Its medics, who operate as the Red Crescent in Islamic countries, still provide assistance in times of conflict around the world. Today is Henry Dunant's birthday and Red Cross Day so we are toasting both Henry and his brave organisation with a Red Lion.
Victory in Europe (VE) Day celebrates the 8th May 1945 when, at 3pm, the UK's then-Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, gave his famous radio broadcast announcing the end of WWII in Europe after Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender the day before.
The news that, after almost six years of war, life could start to return to normal brought spontaneous celebrations across the country. Even the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and her sister Princess Margaret, joined in after slipping out of Buckingham Palace unnoticed.
We suggest you remember VE Day and drink to the end of all wars with one of these 12 cocktails from the 1940s:
Irish Coffee (discovered in 1947)
Black Russian (1949 by Gustav Tops in Brussels)
Mai Tai (1944 by Victor "Trader Vic" Bergeron)
Rusty Nail (1942 for the artist Theodore Anderson)
Suffering Bastard (1942 by Joe Scialom at Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo)
Pink Squirrel (1941 by Bryant Sharp in Milwaukee)
Kava (1942 by Trader Vic)
El Diablo (1940s by Trader Vic)
Blue Moon (circa 1949 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel)
Flying Tigre (attributed to a US Marines captain in 1942)
Casablanca (named after the 1942 film)
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