18 April

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The real Game of Thrones began this day

So we are drinking a...

Aperol Spritz

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If you thought the TV series Game of Thrones seemed a little over the top, or perhaps even unrealistically grim, allow us to introduce you to possibly the ultimate Renaissance femme fatale, Lucrezia Borgia.

Lucrezia came into the world in Subiaco, near Rome, this day in 1480, and makes the incestuous, conniving Cersei from Game of Thrones look quite the pussycat. Daughter of a cardinal, who would later become Pope, Lucrezia was dogged by rumours of incest with her brother Cesare, who probably had her second husband assassinated, and she scandalously attended Cesare's epic 50-prostitute orgy, the Banquet of Chestnuts.

Besides being the most notorious woman of her era, Lucrezia was a famous patron of the arts. Remember her with an Italian classic, the refreshing Aperol Spritz.

Today's also the anniversary of the San Francisco Earthquake

Due to its location on the San Andreas fault, San Francisco is not exactly a model of town planning. And, were it not for the Gold Rush, this perfect harbour might well have remained a small, largely Spanish speaking settlement.

But San Francisco grew. And at 5.12am on this day in 1906, the San Andreas made its presence felt, in the form of an earthquake that probably registered 8 on the Richter scale. San Francisco crumbled, its glorious buildings reduced to dust.

City authorities concealed the scale of the disaster, so even today the death toll is not known, but it ran into the thousands across the coast, and the fire that followed it, one of the last great fires to hit San Francisco, left the city in rubble.

A loss for civilisation - definitely. Yet we love San Francisco the way it is today, and so are indulging in a Pyramid Punch, a cocktail inspired by this great city.

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