10 August

Magellan heads round the world


So we are drinking a...


One of the world's greatest navigators and captains, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan set out from Seville, Spain, on this day in 1519, in command of five Spanish ships.

His mission was to circumnavigate the globe. Only one of Magellan's ships, the Victoria, would survive the three-year ordeal, along with just 18 of its original crew. Although the expedition completed its mission, Magellan did not make the entire voyage, as he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines in a premature attempt to convert the natives to Christianity. In honour of a great explorer, and the epic voyage that bears his name, we are drinking a Navigator: a citrussy gin-based mid-noughties creation by Jamie Terrell with limoncello and pink grapefruit juice.

Today is also Independence Day in Ecuador

On this day in 1830, Ecuador broke away from the confederation of Greater Colombia, which it had joined on gaining freedom from the Spanish. So the people of this equatorial country celebrate their independence today.

As a country, Ecuador is quite crazily diverse. Its landscape runs all the way from the Amazon rainforest to the snowy peaks of the Andes - not to mention the remote Galapagos Islands, whose unique animals, all unafraid of humans, helped Darwin to formulate his Theory of Evolution. With all this diversity, the country is home to over 16,000 different types of plants, and more than 15% of all bird species known on earth. So we'll be celebrating this Latin American nation, and, of course, its independence, with an appropriately named and suitably tropical cocktail, the Jungle Bird, a drink originally from 1970s Malaysia.

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