This day in 1962, after 300 years of British rule, the Union Jack was ceremonially lowered and the new Jamaican flag proudly hoisted aloft as Jamaica declared itself an independent state. Fittingly, the 6th of August is a national holiday in the Caribbean island nation and one hell of an excuse for a party. And a party in Jamaica calls for overproof rum.
In Jamaica, official celebrations centre on the National Arena in Independence Park but across the island, are street parades attended the revellers earing clothing in the colours of e the Jamaican flag. Instigated in 1962, by the then Community Development Minister (and future Prime Minister) Edward Seaga, the day also encompasses the Jamaica Festival which showcases the country's arts, including music with the annual Popular Song Competition. But there's much more to celebrate about Jamaica.
10 fascinating Jamaican facts
The Savoy's birthday
This day in 1889, theatrical impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte opened the doors of his brand new hotel in the heart of theatreland - The Savoy. With profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan opera productions, he built this large, luxurious hotel in the American vein, complete with an American Bar, transforming the London landscape.
D'Oyly Carte hired a certain César Ritz as manager, who brought with him the chef Auguste Escoffier. They established a standard of hospitality and elegant dining that attracted the rich and royal alike. The hotel continued to hire the most talented staff (as it still does) with its American bar managed by the likes of Ada Coleman and Harry Craddock.
The American Bar has been and still is home to some of the world's great bartenders, as well as one of the world's classic cocktail books. We will be marking today with the splendidly classical Savoy Special, which appears, of course, in Harry Craddock's rightly celebrated 1930 cocktail compendium, The Savoy Cocktail Book. Alternatively, these are three most famous cocktails to emerge from the Savoy's American bar: