So we are drinking an...
Aigua de València
The Spanish celebrate International Paella Day every September 20th to coincide with the rice harvest. However, our American friends celebrate, "Spanish Paella Day" on the 27th of March. It's so tasty, that we celebrate this delicious dish, known around the world for its bright, bold flavours and beautiful presentation, twice a year.
Legend has it that paella was first invented by farmers who would cook a communal meal over an open fire in the fields using whatever ingredients they had on hand. They would combine rice, vegetables, and meat or seafood in a large, shallow pan and cook it slowly over the flames, creating a flavourful and hearty dish that could feed a crowd.
Over time, as paella became more popular, different variations emerged, with each region of Spain putting their own unique spin on the recipe. In Valencia, the birthplace of paella, you'll find the traditional Valencian paella, which is made with rabbit, chicken, and snails, along with white beans and saffron-infused rice. In other regions, you might find paella made with seafood, chorizo, or even squid ink. And if you're feeling really adventurous, you could even try making a sweet paella, with ingredients like lemon zest and sultanas (basically the Spanish version of a good old English rice pud!).
But no matter the variation, there are a few key elements that make a good paella: a well-seasoned pan, high-quality ingredients, and a lot of patience. You can't rush a good paella; it takes time and attention to get the rice just right, with the perfect balance of tenderness and chewiness. And don't forget the socarrat, that delicious layer of crispy, caramelised rice that forms on the bottom of the pan - that's the true sign of a well-made paella.
So, whether you're a paella purist or like to experiment with different ingredients, take some time on Spanish Paella Day to honour this beloved dish and all the hard work that goes into making it. Why not throw a paella party and invite your friends over for a feast? Just don't forget the Aigua de València, a boozy take on a Mimosa this is teh most popular cocktail in Valencia, home of paella.
Quentin Tarantino's birthday
The man who brought us Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, True Romance and the acclaimed Django Unchained is celebrating his birthday today.
Tarantino has made everyone's day once in a while with lines like "I'm gonna get medieval on your ass", or insane shaggy dog stories like the man who bets the bartender he can piss in a cup and two guys out back that he can piss all over the bar.
An absolute film geek, an assiduous promoter of smaller movies that might never otherwise make it to the big screen, and the man who persuaded Brad Pitt to star in Inglourious Basterds after an impressive five bottles of wine, we are toasting him in a Pulp Fiction, and wondering why so few of his other movie titles ever got cocktails named after them.
It's Michael "The Beer Hunter" Jackson's birthday
For anyone who takes beer seriously, Michael Jackson, AKA The Beer Hunter, was a trailblazer. His World Guide to Beer, published in 1977, set the foundation for the global theory of beer styles, and a vocabulary many beerophiles use today. He helped spark interest in beer as a liquid as varied and as interesting as wine, and spread the craft-brewing movement around the world. Michael was also a personal friend, and one of our earliest contributors.
Michael was born this day in 1942 and sadly passed away on 30th August 2007 after a battle with Parkinson's.
Michael was not a fan of beer in cocktails, but he loved and wrote about both beer and whisky. So we are toasting him with a Weissen Sour, based on wheat beer and bourbon. Cheers!
It's also the birthday of Europe's first Artificial Reef
Sink pretty much anything - from a motorbike to a tank to a sculpture or a toilet -- into shallow seas and it will become an artificial reef. Corals, sponges, sea plants and anemones grow on it; small fish frequent it; and bigger fish swing by to eat the smaller fish, one reason why wreck hunters ask local fishermen for advice.
On this day in 2004, HMS Scylla, a navy frigate, was deliberately sunk on a sandy seabed off the coast of Cornwall, not far from a famous World War II wreck. A BBC competition winner, still at school, pushed the button to blow her up.
Carefully cleaned to remove pollutants such as oil, HMS Scylla was Europe's first artificial reef - and today she's a magnet for both divers and scientists, who have found more than 230 species living where sailors used to work.
We're toasting one form of rubbish disposal that doesn't need to cost the earth with an aptly named Reef Juice. Created by Charles Tobias of Pusser's Rum fame, it uses, appropriately enough, Navy rum.
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