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International Coffee Day

Espresso Martini

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Espresso Martini

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In 2015, the International Coffee Organization (ICO) launched International Coffee Day. Observed annually on the 1st of October, this is a day to celebrate the coffee bean and honour folk involved in bringing us the energising tasty beverage we enjoy, from the harvesters and roasters to the baristas, not forgetting the plight of the coffee growers.

Like us, you probably start your day with at least one coffee, but today's cup deserves special reverence. Sip slowly, contemplate and then have a second. This evening, we suspect many bars will be promoting Dick Bradsell's excellent Vodka Espresso, better known as the Espresso Martini this is a cocktail that brilliantly harnesses the coffee bean's flavour.

It's also World Sake Day

Today, World Sake Day, marks the beginning of the annual rice harvest, when sake production begins in Japan, running all the way through to April.

Pronounced 'sah-keh', Sake production is highly skilled and laborious. It is made from water, yeast, rice and rice koji (rice that has been inoculated with the fermentation culture Aspergillus oryzae). Sake is often known as 'rice wine' as it features unique variations of flavours and aromas as wine does, but it shares a similar brewing process to beer.

Sake Day began back in 1978 when the Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association designated October 1 as a day of sake celebration. It's an opportunity to recognise the incredibly dedicated and hard-working people involved in sake production, the rice farmers, the brewery workers and the brewmasters, known in Japan as "toji".

Today we'll be raising our 'tokkuri' and 'o-choko' to join thousands of sake lovers around the world in celebrating this drink. Lucky for us that sake is phenomenal in cocktails, pairing well with pretty much any spirit of your choosing. There are lots of recipes containing sake on Difford's Guide, but for today, may we suggest a Damn It Jimmy, the most popular of our 20 best sake cocktails.

The New York Plaza Hotel's birthday

New York's Plaza Hotel opened on this day in 1907. Many decades after Ernest Hemingway uncharitably advised F. Scott Fitzgerald to give his liver to Princeton and his heart to the Plaza, the hotel - along with its bar - was a New York icon.

When it opened, the 19-storey building, a skyscraper at the time, featured no fewer than 1,650 crystal chandeliers, among other Gilded Age glitter and glitz. The Oak Room was open only to men until Prohibition forced its temporary closure. Appearances in movies ranging from Hitchcock's North by Northwest to The Great Gatsby, Funny Girl and Arthur have contributed to the Plaza's fame. Happy Birthday to the Plaza - we are toasting you with a New York Flip.

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