Today is both Dia dos Namorados (Brazil’s answer to Valentine’s Day) and International Cachaça Day, so the perfect occasion to acquaint yourself with the Brazilian national drink, which also happens to be cachaça.
International Cachaça Day, a celebration which seems to have started in America, should not be confused with Dia Nacional da Cachaça (National Cachaça Day) which is celebrated in Brazil on 13th September.
Confusingly the two dates share similar significance - remembering periods when the Portuguese, then the colonial power in Brazil, outlawed both the making and selling of cachaça - Prohibition - leading to uprisings and revolution. Today celebrates a 12th June 1744 revolt.
Cachaça is pungent, full-favoured and makes a superb base spirit in cocktails, so today we are marking Brazil's Valentine's Day and International Cachaça Day with a Strawberry & Basil Caipirinha which celebrates Brazil's national spirit and cocktail, while also being suitably rose red thanks to the strawberries. May we also suggest you try a couple of our 20 best cachaça cocktails.
This day in 1962, three bank robbers disappeared from Alcatraz, considered the USA's most impregnable prison, set on an island in the San Francisco Bay.
Frank Lee Morris, Clarence Anglin and John Anglin had crafted dummy faces from soap, loo roll and real hair and left them in their beds to pass night-time inspections, after cutting through the back of their cells using sharpened spoons. They climbed through a ventilation duct, onto the roof and out to the shore, where they made a raft from driftwood and raincoats and sailed away - never to be seen again.
The jury remains out on what happened to them. Were they swept out to sea and drowned? Eaten by sharks? Did they die of hypothermia? Or did they make it to shore and freedom? 50 years on, the US Marshall's office still has a warrant out for them.
We'd like to think the chaps made it, so we are toasting them with - what else? - a Grape Escape.