11 April

The anniversary of Napoleon's abdication

Bonaparte cocktail

So we are drinking a...

Bonaparte cocktail

On this day in 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte, the military genius who made his way up through the ranks of revolutionary France and then became emperor, sparking the term Napoleon Complex in the process, abdicated and went into exile on the island of Elba.

Oddly, despite the complex that bears his name, Napoleon wasn't actually especially short for the era. Most experts believe Napoleon was actually around 5'6" (1.68 metres), or roughly average for the time, though possibly short by comparison to aristocrats who had grown up rich, and certainly tiny compared to the giant bodyguards who surrounded him.

It has, however, recently been confirmed that Napoleon's penis, which was cut off at autopsy and later sold at auction, was, at 1.5 inches, unusually small. So, perhaps we need to rebrand the complex? We are toasting Napoleon, and his various body parts, with an aptly named Bonaparte, or you may prefer a Napoleon Market, a variation on the Napoleon Cocktail from The Savoy Cocktail Book.

Britain gave Singapore self-rule on this day

On this day in 1957, the British government agreed that the Straits Settlement, the colony soon to be known as Singapore, could rule itself, setting it on the path to independence.

Brits had ruled the island since Sir Stamford Raffles established a trading post there in 1819, and built it up to a busy port city - although, when the Singaporeans gained the right to rule themselves, there was nary a skyscraper in sight.

The natural choice to celebrate? A Singapore Sling or a Straits Sling perhaps - arguably closer to the gin cocktails enjoyed by Noel Coward and his ilk. Read more about the Singapore Sling and Ngiam Tong Boon, the bartender who famously created the drink at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel.

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