20 April

Anniversary of the 1st film star's movie debut

Mary Pickford Cocktail

So we are drinking a...

Mary Pickford Cocktail

"The Mary Pickford cocktail produces in one's soul the same effect as the provoking grace of its namesake," Ramón Gómez de la Serra wrote in his 1930 book Movieland.

The Mary Pickford is a truly international drink, created by Liverpool-born bartender Fred Kaufman in honour of the Canadian-American silent-movie queen at Havana's Hotel Sevilla-Biltmore.

Arguably the first-ever film star, and one of the first actors to parley her success into a production career, Mary Pickford made her screen debut on this day in 1909. It's the perfect excuse to enjoy this classic, fruity Cuban cocktail from Cuba's golden age.

Today is also 420

Today is 4/20, a holiday for stoners around the world. The chance to skive off work or, more often university, and attend a cannabis carnival.

The date originates with a group of high school kids in -- where else? - California. They used the number 420 as part of a code to arrange a meeting place in which to smoke their favoured herb at 4:20, after school. Hippie rock legends The Grateful Dead picked up on the code, which then became applied to the date. And a counter-cultural movement was born, with festivals held in cities around the world to campaign for legalization of marijuana.

Incidentally, film geeks will note that many of the clocks in Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20.

Many in the drinks industry are opposed to the legalization of marijuana due to the selfish worry that such liberalisation would harm alcohol sales. Surely discerning drinkers won't stop enjoying their single malts, craft beers, fine wines and tasty cocktails to instead puff away on weed? And anyway, prohibition of any kind benefits organised crime more than society. We'll continue pondering these arguments while sipping on a Green Tea Cocktail, appropriate as "green tea" was hippie slang for weed. Chin chin!

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