10 August

World Lion Day

Red Lion (Difford's recipe)

So we are drinking a...

Red Lion (Difford's recipe)

First celebrated on this day in 2013, World Lion Day aims to raise awareness and build support for the conservation of these endangered big cats.

Although lions live on savannas they are said to be "king of the jungle" and this derives from their being at the top of the food chain, without natural predators in their habitat. Sadly, it's humans who have decimated their numbers through hunting and causing habitat loss to leave just fragmented lion populations in sub-Saharan Africa and western India.

The mighty lion is a powerful and much-used symbol in human culture making frequent appearances in paintings, statutes, national flags and even British pub names. There are some 650 "Red Lion" pubs in the UK so today it seems apt to enjoy a Red Lion cocktail , or perhaps a Lion's Tail.

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It's also Spoil Your Dog Day

Though fans of our four-legged friends the world over would argue that every day should be 'Spoil Your Dog Day', today it's official, so go forth and pamper your pooch.

They deserve it after all, having been our loyal companions since time immemorial. In the very beginning, they were our hunting allies, protecting us from predators and acting as herders and guardians of livestock. Now, they help the blind and visually-impaired, they are used for therapy to aid patient recovery and they work with the police and military to detect narcotics and explosives, apprehend suspects and trail and track in search and rescue missions. They've even fought by our sides in times of war.

So when you arrive home after a long day and are greeted by an excitable hound, complete with wagging tail and slobbery kisses, feel thankful that we have these incredible creatures by our sides...and maybe spoil them with a long walk, a doggie biscuit and a belly rub whilst you put your feet up with an Old Friend.

It's the day Magellan set sail

One of the world's greatest navigators and captains, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan set out from Seville, Spain, on this day in 1519, in command of five Spanish ships.

His mission was to circumnavigate the globe. Only one of Magellan's ships, the Victoria, would survive the three-year ordeal, along with just 18 of its original crew. Although the expedition completed its mission, Magellan did not make the entire voyage, as he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines in a premature attempt to convert the natives to Christianity. In honour of a great explorer, and the epic voyage that bears his name, we are drinking a Navigator: a citrussy gin-based mid-noughties creation by Jamie Terrell with limoncello and pink grapefruit juice.

Today is also Independence Day in Ecuador

On this day in 1830, Ecuador broke away from the confederation of Greater Colombia, which it had joined on gaining freedom from the Spanish. So the people of this equatorial country celebrate their independence today.

As a country, Ecuador is quite crazily diverse. Its landscape runs all the way from the Amazon rainforest to the snowy peaks of the Andes - not to mention the remote Galapagos Islands, whose unique animals, all unafraid of humans, helped Darwin to formulate his Theory of Evolution. With all this diversity, the country is home to over 16,000 different types of plants, and more than 15% of all bird species known on earth. So we'll be celebrating this Latin American nation, and, of course, its independence, with an appropriately named and suitably tropical cocktail, the Jungle Bird, a drink originally from 1970s Malaysia.

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