11 August

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U.S. President outlaws Russia

So we are drinking a...

Russian Spring Punch

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On this day in 1984, while testing the microphone prior to his weekly scheduled radio address, President Ronald Reagan joked, “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

The off-the-cuff remark came during a period of heightened tensions between the USA and Russia, and although said in jest Regan's policy decisions displayed a tough, anti-communist rhetoric. Whereas previous presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter had strived to foster good relations with Russia, Regan increased defence spending. The Russians responded by similarly increasing theirs and some analysts say that this arms race directly led to the collapse of the Russian economy, which in turn brought about the dissolution of the Soviet Union. So today we are drinking to a Presidential gaff and the independence of the former Soviet republics with a Russian Spring Punch, a tall suitably summery cocktail by the legendary Dick Bradsell.

Mayan Long Count Starts

The world was meant to end on 21 December 2012 - at least according to the Mayan Long Count calendar, which began today in 3114 BC.

Our favourite contribution from that mysterious Central American civilisation, however, is not the calendar, but agave, the plant we have to thank for tequila. Mayans believed that a god named Two Rabbits gave up his life so humans could drink fermented agave. That was rather kind of Two Rabbits, and today is the perfect day to toast him with a Mayan Whore, a seductive tequila blend enriched with both coffee and pineapple.

Peter Cushing died this day in 1994

We will crush the rebellion with one swift stroke! As Governor Tarkin in the original Star Wars films, Peter Cushing is instantly recognisable - yet he's best remembered as a man who defined classic horror. Like his BFF, the incredible Christopher Lee, Cushing made his name in the Hammer Horror films, playing characters like Baron Frankenstein and Van Helsing over, and over, and over again.

In contrast, Cushing's personal life was kind and gentle, a committed vegetarian, a birdwatcher, and a man who mourned his wife for over 20 years. In honour of a great British treasure, we're drinking the suitably bloodthirsty La Sang, a splendidly adult alternative to those godawful "lemonade"-laced Sangrias.

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