You can't have failed to notice that 14 February is St. Valentine's Day, a time of year when a sum equivalent to the GDP of a small country is spent on red roses, fancy chocolates and enormous, novelty padded cards.
But who exactly was St Valentine? Valentinus, to give him his proper name, was supposedly a saint who lived during the third century in Italy. Imprisoned for performing weddings for young soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, he was apparently executed on February 14th 269 AD.
Apart from the fact that it's rather odd we choose to celebrate love on the day this man was beaten with clubs and beheaded, he inspired an industry of schmaltz by penning the first 'Valentine's card' the night before he was executed. It was to his jailor's daughter, and signed 'your Valentine'.
Around 1,200 years later, the Royal Court in England turned the saint's day into a ritual of courtly love and it has remained so ever since.
Why not impress your Valentine with one of our romantically-themed 20 best Valentine's Day cocktails?
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