28 August

A Few of My Favourite Things image

St Augustine's Day

So we are drinking a...

A Few of My Favourite Things

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Praise the Lord! Today is sacred to the patron saint of beer, Saint Augustine of Hippo. (No, not the portly animal - it's a city in Algeria.)

Saint Augustine is famous for his prayer "God grant me chastity and self-control, but not yet". Quite the bad boy for a saint, he spent his early life partying with the fast crowd in the port that was his home town. Augustine had a long-term unmarried relationship and became a father out of wedlock. Then, in his 30s, he heard a voice telling him to "take up and read", and abandoned the high life for celibacy, preaching and the priesthood.

Augustine is renowned as the patron saint of beer, and some Augustinian monks continue to brew the wonderful stuff. May we recommend you toast him in a Boilermaker, combining two of our favourite things, beer and whiskey, or perhaps a Weissen Sour beer cocktail.

Today is also Harry Johnson's birthday

The "Dean of drink" - in contrast to Jerry Thomas' "Professor" - Harry Johnson, one of the pioneers of bartending, was born on this day in 1845 in a city then called Königsberg, part of German Prussia.

Like Thomas, he almost literally washed up in San Francisco, and landed up working at the Union Hotel, across the street from the Occidental where Thomas plied his trade. He would go on to run bars in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York.

A bartender of great style and innovation, Johnson also put a focus on procedures: his manual, published both in English and in German, devotes time to the practicalities and business of bars. We're celebrating his legacy with one of his own creations, a Turf Club. Do join us!

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