12 January

National Marzipan Day

Almond Old Fashioned (tequila based)

So we are drinking an...

Almond Old Fashioned (tequila based)

Possibly one of mankind's oldest sweet treats, marzipan is the confection made from finely ground almonds, sugar or honey and eggs and is used in a variety of recipes to make candies, fondants, cookies and cakes.

Love it or hate it, marzipan is an excellent material for sculpting too, and is often used to create beautifully realistic fruit decorations and cake toppers.

Its origins are debated, and though some believe marzipan emerged from Persia (present-day Iran), there are competing claims from across Europe. In fifteenth-century Germany for example, when famine meant that flour for baking was scarce, the senate of Lübeck ordered bakers to come up with an alternative, and when they turned to ground almonds for their baked goods, marzipan was born. Similar stories emerged from neighbouring countries, however, so it's difficult to determine where it actually came from.

Now, there's not a great deal more to be said of this sweet nut paste, but could we tempt you with a slice of Battenberg? Better still wash that down with a delicious tequila-based Almond Old Fashioned, or perhaps a bourbon-based Almond Old Fashioned is more to your taste?

It's also Joe Frazier's birthday

One of the legends of boxing, and one of the great heavyweights of all time, Smokin' Joe Frazier was born this day in 1944 and died 7th November 2011, after an outstanding career almost entirely out shadowed by his rival Muhammad Ali.

Frazier inflicted Ali's first defeat during the "Fight of the Century" at Madison Square Gardens, came close during the Thriller in Manila and won an Olympic boxing gold medal. Yet, as the establishment foil to Ali's radical rhetoric, he would never step out of his shadow.

It wasn't just the personal taunts that hurt - although they scarred him more than the blows. But when Ali was chosen to light the Olympic torch in 1996, and when his Philadelphia hometown chose a fictional boxer - Rocky! - to commemorate, Frazier felt these insults deeply.

To this good man, a heroic athlete, and a man who always tried to do what was right in a world that was often all wrong, we are raising a glass of Smokey Joe.

It's also the anniversary of the first person to be cryogenically frozen

Back in 1967, 73-year-old Psychology Professor James Bedford became the first person to be cryogenically frozen in the hope that one day he would be woken up and brought back to life.

Robert Nelson, President of the Cryonics Society of California, and one of the three characters involved in his preservation went on to document the process in We Froze the First Man. Still cryopreserved to this day Professor Bedford is stored in liquid nitrogen.

In the cryonics community, the anniversary of Bedford's preservation is celebrated as Bedford Day. If you want to join them, we'd like to suggest you dock your cap to the frozen Professor with a Frozen Daiquiri.

It's also Howard Stern's birthday

The original shock jock, Howard Stern was born this day in 1954 and is still broadcasting despite millions of dollars worth of U.S. Federal Communications Commission fines.

Stern's depraved sense of humour and appetite for utter filth has seen him interview director Brett Ratner about the size of his genitalia and a Hugh Hefner girlfriend about their sex life. Early career highlights included getting suspended for creating a game that involved chasing the Virgin Mary around a singles bar, and inventing the character known as Fartman. Stern became a candidate for Governor of New York in 1994, on a Libertarian platform, but sadly refused to stand after he realised he would have to open his accounts to the public.

Bizarrely, this all-round hellraiser is also a fan of Transcendental Meditation. Loud waters, it would seem, run quietly from time to time. Happy birthday, Howard. We are toasting you with a Showbiz cocktail.

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