4 November

National Candy Day

Parma Violet Spritz

So we are drinking a...

Parma Violet Spritz

Although you never need an excuse to eat sweets, there is of course a day dedicated to 'candy', and that day is the 4th of November.

Candy is a form of nostalgia for so many of us; a retro sweet can take us straight back to our childhoods and the days of swapping rhubarb and custards in the playground for a bit of popping candy, or if you were lucky, a sherbet fountain.

Candy can in fact be dated right back to somewhere between the 4th and 6th centuries BC, when ancient Indians boiled sugarcane juice, which became known as Khanda, the Sanskrit word for individual pieces of sugar. Candy holds a major place in cultural history globally. It took the form of flowers and fruits preserved in honey in ancient China, Greece, Rome and the Middle East and before the Industrial Revolution, it was used as a form of medicine for sore throats or to ease digestive issues.

Candy was originally a treat for the very rich, but as it reached American shores in the 18th century, it soon became a childhood staple worth saving pocket money for. Our favourite fact is that in the 1800s, chocolate was actually prescribed by physicians to patients with broken hearts. So there really is a candy for every ailment.

Whether you peg your candy to the rim of the glass, skewer it, or slice it so it can nestle on the rim, candy is a brilliant garnish. The flavours found in many of these sweets have inspired cocktails recipes, such as our own Parma Violet Spritz, just one of our 20 best Candy Cocktails.

King Tut Day

This day in 1922, the Egyptologist Howard Carter was about to give up hope on ever finding the tomb of Tutankhamun, which he was convinced lay somewhere within the Valley of the Kings, a forbidding canyon near the town of Luxor.

Or, to be more precise, Carter's backer, Lord Carnarvon, was about to give up hope and pull all funds. Then one of his labourers stumbled upon a set of stairs leading down into the sand, revealing the tomb of this obscure king, complete with beaded sandals, gold and lapis death mask, and some very bling gold beds.

Tutankhamun was only 19 when he died, but he had reigned for a full decade, and conceived two children with his sister-wife - he was buried with the foetuses she miscarried. But by pharaoh's standards, he was small fry. We are celebrating King Tut Day with a King Cole Cocktail, a valuable find unearthed in Harry Craddock's excellent 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book.

The Interpretation of Dreams was published this day

Today in 1899, a little-known Austrian neurologist named Sigmund Freud published The Interpretation of Dreams.

It would take many years before that first 600-copy print run sold out, yet the publication would go on to inspire the Surrealists and transform our understanding of the human mind, by suggesting that dreams reflect the hidden desires and anxieties of the subconscious. Once the anxieties of the subconscious were cured, Freud believed men could be happier.

In honour of Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, who transformed mental-health treatment with his talking cure but sadly had to flee his Vienna home for London in old age, mix up a Dream Cocktail tonight. Aniseed, orange and cognac make a positively dreamy after-dinner combo.

(P) Diddy's Birthday

Sean Combs, the artist once known as Puff Daddy, often known as Puffy, and now known everywhere but Blighty as Diddy, was born in Harlem on this day in 1969.

Perfumer, designer, marketer, musician, producer and actor, he has made an impressive ascent from party promoter and record industry intern to the status of the richest man in hip-hop, dating Jennifer Lopez and redefining bling along the way. Love him or loathe him, the man has a style that is hard to ignore, and his A-list parties are legendary. Yet, despite his New York origins and New Jersey residence, there is something ineffably Miami about the Diddy. So, eschewing Mr Combs' preferred tipple of (yes, really!) vodka and lemonade, we are raising a glass of Miami Beach.

The day Brookside died

On this day in 2003, the Liverpudlian soap that brought Anna Friel to stardom and Jennifer Ellison to supermarket tabloid fame, showed its last ever episode, and the doors shut on Liverpool's Brookside Close for good.

Trashy, it may have been. But, by the standards of the 1980s, Brookside was not just edgy but cutting edge. It showed the first-ever pre-watershed lesbian kiss; delved deep into domestic violence and drug addiction; and, as early as 1985, featured an out gay man in a non-judgemental fashion. Later, it would spark howls of protest by covering consensual incest. And, in today's era of heavily scripted reality, Kardashians and TOWIE, is it a little sad to say we miss it?

We're toasting the good old days when fiction was fiction and fact was fact with an aptly named Brooklyn Cocktail, a Manhattanesque rye cocktail that really is worth a try.

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