31 August

Queen's Park Hotel Super Cocktail image

Independence Day in Trinidad And Tobago

So we are drinking a...

Queen's Park Hotel Super Cocktail

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Any excuse for a party in the Caribbean: today Trinidadians and Tobagonians are bringing out the steel drums, calypso, limbo dancers and rum for an all-day carnival to mark the anniversary of their independence from the UK, gained this day in 1962.

Just a few miles from the coast of Venezuela, these Caribbean islands were discovered by Columbus in 1498. Yet their culture is a remarkable fusion of Caribbean and Asian, with curries as popular as Creole food.

Our chosen cocktail, the Queen's Park Hotel Super Cocktail is best described as being a Trinidadian Daiquiri due to its heavy use of Angostura Bitters. Our recipe dates from the 1930s and the colonial splendour of what was then the leading hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Hitler framed Poland on this day

In the evening of August 31, 1939, small clusters of troops in Polish uniforms crossed the border into Germany. One group seized a radio station in Gleiwitz, sent out a message in Polish asking Poles to attack the Germans, and then left, leaving behind a dead body in Polish uniform.

Yet neither the troops nor the bodies were as they seemed. The corpses were concentration camp prisoners who had been shot to provide authenticity; the troops were members of the Nazi SS and Gestapo. The whole scenario was a false flag incident, created so that Hitler could invade Poland.

At 4.45 the next morning, he duly did. World War II was underway, and would continue for six brutal years. We're commemorating this sombre anniversary with a Polish Martini, created by Dick Bradsell for his (Polish) father-in-law.

Sculptor Says Farewell

The English sculptor and artist Henry Moore, who died today in 1986, is best known for his monumental semi-abstract sculptures, most of which are depictions of the human figure, particularly mother-and-child pairings or reclining figures.

Many of these works are pierced or contain hollow spaces, and his undulating forms are thought to draw on the landscape and hills of his Yorkshire birthplace. His many large-scale commissions made Moore wealthy but he tended to live the simple life of a coal miner's son, choosing to donate most of his income to the Henry Moore Foundation, which continues to support education and promotion of the arts. We are drinking to one of the most famous of all English artists with an Artists Special, a cocktail from the 1920s.

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