26 July

Anniversary of Eva Peron's death


So we are drinking an...


María Eva Duarte de Perón died on this day in 1952, aged 33, leaving in her wake a whole wealth of movies, musicals, Madonna songs, not to mention poems and paintings.

Born poor and illegitimate in conservative Argentina, Eva rose from B-movie acting and radio to become First Lady of Argentina - and almost became Vice-President, too. Known nationwide by the Spanish shortening Evita, she may have been behind women's acquisition of the right to vote in Argentina, and established a personal foundation to reduce poverty.

The Vatican has received several requests to make her into a saint. And, like Communist leaders, her body was mummified after her death and preserved in glycerine. She was buried, later exhumed, and moved several times, also passing a spell in Juan's dining room. Her remains are now back in Buenos Aires in a very secure tomb, so nervous are the authorities that it will be stolen by adoring fans.

Besides the movies and the musical, Evita inspired at least one cocktail. Why don't you give it a try?

It's the anniversary of The Great Los Angeles Smog

On this day in 1943, a few months after Pearl Harbour, Angelenos woke up believing they were under chemical attack: eyes were stinging, noses were running, and Los Angeles' famously pure air was full of thick, choking smog that obscured the iconic skyline. And so began a journey of discovery.

The city wasn't under attack, of course. At first, a rubber plant was blamed. Yet, even after it was shut down, the smog returned. Amazingly, it would take almost a decade before folk realised that cars were to blame, and another twenty before pollution standards came in for automobiles. And today, it's worth noticing that environmental damage that seems obvious with hindsight isn't necessarily obvious at the time. We are lifting our spirits with an Angel Face, discovered in Harry Craddock's Savoy Cocktail Book.

It's Sandra Bullock's birthday

You wouldn't think it, to look at Ms Bullock performing in her skivvies in Gravity, but Sandra Bullock turned fifty back in 2014. And, magically, she's managed to do this without obvious face-freeze or collagen overload - not bad for someone who's been a working actress since 1987.

Better yet, after a string of absolutely terrible rom-coms, Ms Bullock is doing serious acting. She won her first Oscar well into her 40s, for comedy, was nominated again for Gravity, and has managed to get to 50 with her only stint in rehab being as research for a role. She's an adoptive mother to a young son, a movie producer, a restaurateur and, it seems, remarkably normal and un-divaly. We're toasting her with an appropriately elegant cocktail, the Fancy Free.

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