14 May

Sunshine Cocktail #1 image

It's the anniversary of Louis XIV's enthronement

So we are drinking a...

Sunshine Cocktail #1

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Crowned on this day in 1643 at the young age of just four, Louis XIV of France built the Palace of Versailles, established France as one of the pre-eminent powers of Europe, outlawed Protestants, and reigned for 72 years and 110 days – which remains the record for the longest reign in a major European country.

Louis chose the sun as his emblem and was known as the Sun King, so what else to toast him with but a Sunshine Cocktail?

It's Mark Zuckerberg's birthday

Founded in February 2004, Facebook is already a teenage website, and Mark Zuckerberg, whose birthday it is today, is just 20 years older than the monster he created. And, with a net worth of over $60 billion, we'd hope the child prodigy programmer turned philanthropist and businessman will be having a party, at least.

Although, given that in Silicon Valley terms he's getting on a bit, he may be spending it quietly with his wife. Or possibly working - perhaps on internet.org, his project to bring the magic of the interwebz to people around the world. Who hopefully won't be using it for sharing cat pictures and fighting with strangers. Or possibly reading Latin poetry, an activity he also enjoys.

Anywise, happy birthday, Zuck. You may feel old, but you make the rest of the world feel ancient - so we're toasting you with a Prune Face.

Today is also the anniversary of the first U.S. Space Station

It's safe to say that the Cold Warriors who launched the US' first space station - Skylab - on this day in 1973 wouldn't have imagined a world in which the International Space Station was possible.

Skylab was launched as a riposte to the Soviet space station Salyut 1, which had launched a couple of years earlier - although the first crew to reach it were all killed by an accident on re-entry.

It was also supposed to mark the first steps towards travel into outer space, a goal that seemed frustratingly far away - at least until China provided new competition in the space race.

Today a private company aims to send a man and a woman to orbit Mars, while NASA is working to send astronauts to an asteroid. We're toasting the brave pioneers who were the first to live in space with The Star, a cocktail that most likely predates the car, let alone the plane.

Today is also the anniversary of the formation of The Warsaw Pact

Formed this day in 1955, The Warsaw Pact was a military treaty between the Soviet Union and seven of its satellite states across Central and Eastern Europe.

Created during the Cold War in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO, it established a counter to NATO and a balance of power. The Warsaw Pact also helped Russia maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Warsaw Pact consisted Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.

The Pact began to unravel with the 1989 Eastern Bloc Revolutions started by Poland's Solidarity movement. East Germany and Poland withdrew in 1990 and on 1st July 1991 The Warsaw Pact was dissolved. Since then seven of its former member countries have joined NATO.

We are drinking to today's very different Europe with a Warsaw Pact , a cocktail we discovered in Warsaw back in 2007.

It's also the anniversary of Israeli Independence

On this day in 1948, David Ben-Gurion read out the Declaration of the Independence of Israel, marking a great step for the people of Israel and the beginning of what Palestinians call "the catastrophe".

In Israel itself, the day is celebrated following the Jewish calendar, so varies from year to year. Protests by Palestinians and neighbouring states fall tomorrow, on the anniversary of the invasion that sparked the Arab-Israeli war.

The Declaration of Independence promises that Israel "will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations".

We are enjoying a Jaffa Cocktail, which takes its name from the ancient city of Jaffa, now a beachside suburb of Tel Aviv, and includes the flavour of Israel's favourite liqueur, Sabra. And we are hoping for peace, equality and freedom for everyone in the region.

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