3 April

Ice Cream Sundae's birthday


So we are drinking a...


A classic of the sticky-dessert genre, the Sundae was created on a Sunday on this day in 1892, when a drugstore owner and church treasurer in upstate New York treated his parson to a dish of vanilla ice-cream fancied up with some cherry syrup and a glacé cherry.

Although his subsequent un-Christian attempts to patent the name "Sunday" proved unsuccessful, the Sundae was born. We should point out that two Rivers (Wisconsin) and Evanston (Illinois) also claim to be the home of the sundae - but Ithaca's Cherry Sunday is the only one with documentary proof.

We are raising a toast to low-rent sweet treats of all varieties, with a glass of Mudslide.

The anniversary of America's worst tornado outbreak

On this day in 1974, the worst tornado outbreak in US history broke out: within 18 hours, 148 tornadoes would have killed 330 people and injured thousands more, damaging more than 2500 miles of the United States.

Today it's known as the Super Outbreak - no fewer than 30 of those tornadoes were violent, whereas normally the US sees only 7 violent tornadoes in an entire year. In a town called Xenia, entire streets of brick-built homes were sucked up into the swirling vortex; in Daisy Hill, a woman was killed by a school bus that flew into the ditch where she was taking cover; in Harvest, Alabama, a metal high-tension tower completely disappeared; and, in Tanner, Alabama, rescuers helping those hit by the first tornado were endangered by a second.

While today's satellite weather forecasting isn't perfect, it's improved a lot since those dark days - prediction skills that we'll need as climate change brings yet more extreme weather. We're toasting them with an aptly named Hurricane, our favourite version of the cocktail associated with Pat O'Briens.

The anniversary 1st flight over Mt Everest

On this day in 1933, Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Scotland's answer to Biggles, flew a biplane over Mount Everest, as part of the world's highest formation flight.

It was the first flight over Everest, a mountain that had never been summited. The pilots faced winds and down-currents so savage and unpredictable that Douglas-Hamilton's plane only cleared the mountain top by a sparse few feet.

And the adventures didn't stop there. One of the pilots nearly died after problems with his oxygen mask - the air on top of Everest is so thin that it quickly kills anyone who is not acclimatised - an accident we arguably have to thank for pressurised cabins in planes today.

Like Douglas-Hamilton, we love our Aviation. But the Elder Aviator, an Aviation with an elderberry twist, isn't half bad either. Give it a try. It's one of our own.

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