18 March

Fra Angelico died this day

Biscotti Spritz

So we are drinking a...

Biscotti Spritz

The folk behind the hazelnut liqueur Frangelico claim that their secret recipe dates back to a hermit monk named Fra Angelico in 18th-century Piedmont, Italy.

But the Fra Angelico who died in a Roman convent on this day in 1455 is rather better attested: one of the true stars of early Italian Renaissance art, this humble, devout monk was known as "Blessed One" during his lifetime, and would not even pick up a brush without praying first. Today he is beatified - halfway to sainthood - and is the official patron of Catholic artists.

We are toasting him with an Italian-inspired cocktail, a take on the northern Italian aperitif Spritz: the Biscotti Spritz includes not only hazelnut liqueur (that's what Frangelico is) but butterscotch, too.

The last woman burned at the stake in Britain died on this day

Crime and punishment has mercifully moved on over the decades. Britain got rid of the death penalty in the 1960s; we formally abolished hanging, drawing and quartering in the 1870s; we stopped hanging pickpockets in the early 1800s; and we last burned someone at the stake over 230 years ago today. Her name was Catherine Murphy and she had been forging coins, a crime that counted as high treason. Her male conspirators were killed by hanging; as a woman, she had to be burned at the stake.

When we last checked, at least 54 countries around the world still used the death penalty with the USA the last of the G7 countries to maintain the death penalty.

Today, the longest sentence you can serve for forging money is ten years. And we're toasting this more merciful world with The Money Penny, a deliciously grapefruity drink we discovered at the Blue Owl, NYC.

Join the Discussion

... comment(s) for Fra Angelico died this day

You must log in to your account to make a comment.

Report comment

You must be logged in to upvote or downvote a comment

Click here to login