11 January

Hot Toddy Day

Hot Toddy (Hot Scotch & Lemon)

So we are drinking a...

Hot Toddy (Hot Scotch & Lemon)

In the days before ice was easily available - and in most parts of the world, you needed to be pretty much royalty to own an ice house and keep it stocked - many mixed drinks were served not just at room temperature, but hot.

And the toddy, while probably not as venerable as the posset, or the flip, was one of these drinks. Its name almost certainly comes from an Indian term for palm spirits, although one Scottish poet imaginatively suggested it might have come from Tod's Well, once a water source for Edinburgh.

Nowadays Toddies are often served as a cure for colds and flu - a claim which has some merit, as honey soothes sore throats and lemon contains Vitamin C - but it's actually a fantastic winter warmer, and thoroughly deserving of its very own day.

So, whether or not you're currently under the weather, why not pop the kettle on, crack open a bottle of decent Scotch, and celebrate Hot Toddy Day with a Hot Toddy.

It's also the day milk was first delivered in bottles

In 1878, some bright spark had a great idea - instead of swilling round a big bucket of milk, and letting everyone scoop out a pail for themselves, they decanted it into bottles, and delivered it in a far more sanitary fashion.

In the twenty-first century, this idea might not seem like the most revolutionary thing that's ever happened, but we thought that it provided us with a good enough reason to celebrate anyway...so grab some milk from the fridge, sadly now more likely to be in a paper carton or plastic bottle, and mix yourself a Milk Punch or perhaps even a Bourbon Milk Punch.

The inventor of LSD's birthday

Albert Hoffman, a mild-mannered Swiss chemist, was born this day in 1906. It would be 32 years before he synthesised the substance that made his name, LSD, and a further five years before he accidentally absorbed some through his fingers and embarked on the world's first acid trip.

In later life, still employed by his pharmaceutical company, Hoffman synthesised more hallucinogens and watched with alternate awe and dismay the impact of his creation on art, music, even literature. By the end, he was a passionate campaigner for the therapeutic use of LSD, which he felt had been abused by the counter-culture during the 1960s.

A clean living chap, with the exception of the mind-altering substances he explored, Albert survived to the grand old age of 102, dying quietly of natural causes in a small Swiss village. We are toasting him with an Alberto Martini.

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