23 January

Anniversary of the Mississippi's 1st bridge

Mississippi Punch

So we are drinking a...

Mississippi Punch

Now, we're not the types to go about celebrating the building of any old bridge, but we are particularly fond of New Orleans and so by extension the Mississippi, so we reckon that the first bridge across America's longest river is worth toasting... especially if it creates an excuse to drink a Mississippi Punch!

The Hennepin Avenue Bridge started out as a toll bridge on this very day back in 1855, and links Hennepin Avenue with Nicollet Island in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bridge's official name is Father Louis Hennepin Bridge - named after Louis Hennepin, the 17th-century explorer who discovered Saint Anthony Falls about a mile downstream.

The almost 2,000-mile river cruise downstream from Minneapolis to tropical New Orleans takes weeks and is an essential once in a lifetime adventure for fans of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. If you're lucky enough to be in Minneapolis, about to embark on such a journey, then you should go celebrate on the bridge itself, but if, like us, you're not, then celebrate from a distance with this delicious bourbon and cognac cocktail.

It's also the anniversary of Kim Philby's disappearance

It is easy to mock the paranoia of Cold War operatives, the "Reds under the bed" mania that saw, like terrorist scare stories today, communists absolutely everywhere.

And then you come across a story like that of Kim Philby, the sort of saga that makes James Bond films feel like documentary. A mild-mannered diplomat, Kim Philby successfully combined several secret lives. Despite being a communist in his youth, he became a high-ranking operative in MI6, working in counter-intelligence, catching communists.

He was also an even higher-level informant to the KGB, one of a group of five Cambridge-educated posh boys who kept Stalin's secret police well-informed on what the opposition was up to and sent countless people to their death. Miraculously, Philby survived an official inquiry with his reputation intact, abandoned spying and turned to journalism. Eight years later, on 23rd January 1963, he left his wife in Beirut and fled to Moscow, the Red Manhattan where he would die.

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