Not only did Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson lose the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife on this day in 1797, but he lost his arm as well.
The British were attempting a beach landing followed by a ground attack on the Spanish port but they were mown down by Spanish cannon, mortar and guns, many of which were manned by civilians. Nelson is reported to have said, pointing to his right arm, "Doctor, I want to get rid of this useless piece of flesh here." Following amputation, the arm was thrown overboard, despite the admiral's wish to keep it.
We're sure Nelson would have needed a stiff drink - we'd have offered a Suffering Bastard.
We also remembering Harry Patch
On this day in 2009, the last soldier known to have fought in the trenches of World War I passed away. Harry Patch was 111, and so traumatised by the horrors of trench warfare that he didn't even speak about the war until he turned 100.
But when he spoke, he spoke with power and passion. Radiohead wrote a song in memory of him, using his own words, such as "The next will be chemical but they never learn" and "Give your leaders each a gun and let them fight themselves". Poet Laureate Andrew Motion wrote a poem for him; Patch himself wrote an autobiography.
His observation on meeting Germany's last surviving WWI soldier, Charles Kuentz, bears repeating. "Herr Kuentz is a very nice gentleman. He is all for a united Europe and peace - and so am I." Harry Patch, we salute you. And we're toasting you with a Matador #2 - Tommy style.
It's also the birthday of the first Tube Baby
IVF is so common nowadays, an essential recourse for older parents or people suffering fertility issues, that it's hard to believe the shock Louise Brown's birth caused the world in 1978.
Louise was the first ever baby born after IVF, or in vitro fertilization, a process where eggs and sperm are brought together outside the body. Despite the common term "test tube baby", fertilization usually happens in Petri dishes, not tubes of any kind.
In recognition of his transformation of medical science, Robert Edwards, the doctor who developed IVF and worked with Louise's parents, won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2010. Louise is now a mother herself. We are not generally fans of any drink that comes in test tubes. The Test Pilot, however, is a different matter.
Today is also Britain's Hottest Day
Britain has an unjustified reputation for being cold, wet and rainy. But on this day back in 2019 it was hot, very hot. Indeed, it was the hottest day ever.
On 25th July 2019, temperatures soared to 38.7 ˚C at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden, the Met Office confirmed following quality control and analysis. This surpasses previous records from the 2003 heatwave, which saw temperatures of 38.1˚C (100.6˚F) in Gravesend, Kent and 38.5˚C (101.3˚F) in nearby Brogdale on 10th August - which had been the highest since records began back in 1875. The summer of 2003 was particularly hot across Europe with record temperatures also recorded in France, Portugal and Switzerland.
Thing is Britain is clement - never that hot or particularly cold, or even that wet, especially in the south of England. Due to the lack of extremes in temperature we Brits aren't generally well prepared for snow or heat - neither the infrastructure or our homes. Consequently, in that blazing summer of 2003 speed restrictions had to be introduced on the trains to prevent rails buckling, meaning that sweltering commuters had to endure delays of up to an hour without aircon.
All that said we do like a sunny day and in the hope the sun is shining where you are, we present a selection of 'cool' cocktails:
Cider Apple Cooler
Citrus Rum Cooler
The Colonial Cooler
Key West Cooler
Lincoln Club Cooler
Manger Rum Cooler
Shady Grove Cooler