15 July

It's the anniversary of the discovery of Alaska

So we are drinking a...

Alaska (Savoy recipe)

On this day a Russian expedition, led by Aleksei Chirikov and Vitus Bering, became the first Europeans to reach Alaska. (Bering would give his name to the narrow strait which separates North America from Russia.)

Probably most famous as the home of grizzly bears, polar bears and Mama Grizzly - Sarah Palin, Alaska enters written history as a colony of Russia - though indigenous people including the Inuit have been living and hunting there for well over ten thousand years.

America bought it from Russia in 1867, for the then-huge sum of over seven million dollars, a decision which was widely derided until folk found gold there. Happy birthday, Alaska. May we recommend you join us in an Alaska Cocktail, which features in Harry Craddock's 1930 classic The Savoy Cocktail Book but with a splash of added sherry thanks to David Embury and his 1948 The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.

Today was also the day Seaside Postcards Went Down

In a blow from which the seaside postcard industry would never get up again, Donald McGill went down on this day. Yes, the Obscene Publications Act had Britain's master of innuendo up against the wall for a seeing to he'd never forget.

On this day in 1954, saucy seaside postcards were found to be even naughtier than the naughtiest of politicians, and their creator, McGill, received a good spanking for cocking a snook at British morality. This was all a bit harsh for a chap approaching 80, who's not-terribly daring lines included gems such as "I want to back the favourite, please. My sweetheart gave me a pound to do it both ways".

McGill died in poverty, but his postcards can sell for tens of thousands. We're toasting this cheeky chappy with a virgin, yet aptly named bevvy, the Pussyfoot.

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