13 April

James Bond's birthday

Vesper Dry Martini

So we are drinking a...

Vesper Dry Martini

On this day in 1953, the first book by a one-time British intelligence officer named Ian Fleming rolled off the presses – and James Bond, one of the 20th century's most enduring characters, was born.

With its then-shocking content of sex and violence - one of many elements that had made Fleming's publishers unwilling to put the book out at first - the first edition of Casino Royale sold out within a month. But, although Casino Royale made it onto TV in 1954, and as a parody film in 1967, it wouldn't become part of the Bond movie franchise until the 2006 version starring Daniel Craig.

Casino Royale, of course, stars a secret agent named Vesper Lynd, for whom Bond names a drink, the Vesper. Which is always, but always, shaken not stirred. Why not also toast Bond's trusty secretary, by mixing up a delicious gin and grapefruit harmony, The Money Penny?

It's the anniversary of Sidney Poitier's Oscar win

On this day in 1964, when inter-racial marriage was illegal in many US states, and the only black person ever to have won an Oscar had done so for the supporting role of maid, Sidney Poitier walked away with the Best Actor statuette for his performance in Lilies of the Field. A platonic kiss on the cheek from Ann Bancroft, who presented the award, sparked outrage across the USA.

Sidney Poitier was a beacon for black acting during the civil rights era, deliberately choosing roles that put black people in a good light, and avoiding the cliched roles of criminals and servants.

Sidney Poitier, we salute you. And we're toasting you (and Lilies of the Field) with a Lucky Lily Margarita.

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