12 December

National Poinsettia Day


So we are drinking a...


Another national day of the festive variety today celebrates the red and green, leafy Poinsettia which can be found in abundance during the Christmas period.

The history of the Poinsettia begins with the Aztecs and in particular the Aztec king Montezuma who had his people grow the plants to decorate his palace. Known then as Cuetlaxochitl, the bright red leaves were also used to produce red dye and the sap used to cure fevers.

There are Christmas legends from Mexico regarding this festive plant known as 'The Flower of the Holy Night' or 'La Flor de la Nochebuena'. It was also used in a Christian nativity procession when Mexico was invaded by Conquistadors in the 17th century.

The name Poinsettia comes from Joel Roberts Poinsett who was the first U.S Ambassador to Mexico and a keen botanist. In 1828 he sent cuttings home that became very popular among other botanists, and December 12th was chosen to mark National Poinsettia Day as it also marks the day of his passing in 1851.

Inspired by the plant in question and featuring the same red colouring, we're toasting a glass of Poinsettia.

Ol' Blue Eyes birthday

Frank Sinatra, born today in 1915, sang in the musical On the Town, "I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps/And find I'm king of the hill/Top of the heap."

He was from New Jersey but didn't let that hold him back. One of the most enduring musical icons of all time, and a successful actor too, Sinatra married Ava Gardner and Mia Farrow and dated Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Judy Garland. At the heart of the Rat Pack, a group of celebrities that made iconic their slouchy, suit-clad Vegas cool, Sinatra counted Humphrey Bogart and John F. Kennedy among his friends and partied as hard as he sang.

The Jersey Sour, a timelessly classy blend of Calvados and citrus, is enough to make anyone feel "top of the heap".

It's also National Cocoa Day

For no particular reason that we are aware of, our American friends have declared 13th December to be "National Cocoa Day". It's a time of year when those of us in the northern hemisphere are already enduring colder weather, so it's an appropriate time to enjoy the warming effects of a cup of hot chocolate (or "hot cocoa" in America).

Made using hot skimmed (1%) or semi-skimmed (2%) milk and cocoa powder, which is free of cocoa butter, this warming drink has a healthy fat and calorie count. However, it tastes better when indulgently rich and made with full fat milk, cocoa power, ground chocolate and brown sugar, served topped with whipped cream and a bar of Cadbury Flake chocolate.

Alternatively, may we suggest an equally indulgent chocolaty drink of the alcoholic variety. Garnished with a couple of segments of the similarly named triangular chocolate bar, our Toblerone Cocktail is named after the Swiss chocolate maker, Theodor Tobler.

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