18 February

Fernand Petiot's birthday

Bloody Mary (Difford's recipe)

So we are drinking a...

Bloody Mary (Difford's recipe)

On this day in 1900, Fernand "Pete" Petiot was born in Paris, to parents who owned a guesthouse - he would come to fame, correctly or otherwise, as the inventor of the Bloody Mary cocktail.

Passionate about all things hospitality, Petiot's career brought him from the kitchens of Harry's New York Bar, Paris, to the King Cole Bar at New York's St. Regis, and the more humble surroundings of the Canton City Club in Ohio. Wherever Pete worked, he was famed for his sense of humour and his way with customers and other bartenders - not to mention, at Harry's, displaying a capacity for speed-drinking beer that actually made the papers.

Did he invent the Bloody Mary cocktail? Quite possibly not - but he almost certainly did shape the combo of vodka and tomato juice into something close to its current, spicy form. We're toasting him with a Bloody Mary made using our preferred recipe.

Fête du Citron

Back in 1929, a hotel owner in Menton, Côte d'azur had the idea of putting on a festival to celebrate the region's citrus harvest.

It started off small, but now the festival attracts over 230,000 tourists, and it's...well, completely nuts. One of the major events is a parade of floats, and when we say floats, we don't mean a couple of people dancing on the back of a truck. Think more along the lines of 10 metre high structures, studded with lemons, which spray confetti at the crowds lining the street.

We thought that we'd celebrate the citrus harvest in our own way, so we're making Lemongrads tonight...and lots of them. The festival dates vary slightly each year but it usually kicks off around now and goes on to early March, so maybe bulk buy some lemons, and pace yourself - it's going to be a good few weeks!

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