We're remembering Richard Burton
The love of Elizabeth Taylor's life, one of the most-nominated actors never to have won an Oscar, and the most celebrated British actor never to have been knighted, Richard Burton died on this day in 1984.
The twelfth of thirteen children of an impoverished coal miner, Burton rose from a small Welsh village to a peak of shared celebrity equivalent only to Brangelina today - he was even condemned by the Pope.
Burton once boasted he could drink four pints of vodka during a stage performance, and fended off an assault from Elizabeth Taylor without spilling a drop of his favoured large martini. We are toasting his memory with his beverage of choice, none other than the Vodka Martini.
We are also drinking to peace
At the height of the Cold War, on this day in 1963 the United States, the USSR and Britain made a historic move towards world peace by agreeing the first-ever nuclear test ban treaty. (France, the only other nation then known to have nuclear weapons, refused to sign, as did China, which was about to start testing its new devices.)
The Moscow treaty banned all testing in the air, in the water or, for that matter, in outer space, although it did allow for underground tests. Why the treaty? Well, during the 1950s the fallout from nuclear weapons testing in Siberia and the Pacific islands people were starting to realise that radiation could cause cancers, birth defects and long-term damage, and that uncontrolled testing of nuclear weapons could leave the planet a toxic wasteland.
Within a few months, more than a hundred other nations would sign up to the treaty, an important step to halting the nuclear arms race. Let's raise a toast to our safer world, and the international public pressure that led to the treaty, with a Nuclear Daiquiri, a suitably explosive Daiquiri created in 2005 at London's LAB bar by our much missed friend, Gregor de Gruyther. The similarly styled and Tiki influenced Test Pilot by Trader Vic also seems fitting. Cheers.