8 March

Pink Lady image

It's International Women's Day

So we are drinking a...

Pink Lady

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Today's International Women's Day, an excuse to ring up the special women in your life, and tell them how great they are - or even better, mix them a cocktail and propose a toast to influential women round the world.

First celebrated on this day in 1914, International Women's Day is now an excuse for a holiday in nations from Zambia to that well-known haven of women's rights, Afghanistan. Yes, Afghanistan. Here in Blighty, no one gets the day off work (in Russia, China, Vietnam, Ukraine, Uganda Madagascar and Nepal, women do). But the country will play host hundreds of events, from coffee mornings to empowering workshops to abysmal performances of the Vagina Monologues.

In Portugal, women-only dinner parties are customary, whist in Montevideo, a group of female drummers - La Melaza - perform on the main street in the city. In Italy, the men are more participatory in helping women celebrate, by presenting them with yellow mimosas.

The progress women have made since American socialists first celebrated International Women's Day is quite phenomenal: there are female Prime Ministers and CEOs, and now it's rare for a woman not to have the vote. However, we feel there is still a way to go. Even in the most developed countries, women's earnings consistently lag behind men's, and violence, sexual and otherwise, is a major issue. Poorer women are routinely victim to activities from trafficking to honour killing and in Saudi Arabia, for example, are forbidden to drive a car.

So today we are toasting the cause of women's rights with a wildly inappropriate, though tasty and prettily named Pink Lady. While you're at it, perhaps also toast the amazing women in the drinks industry, from distillers to bar owners, from brand ambassadors to bartenders. Here's a selection of stories and profiles from just a small number:

Ounal Bailey - Brand Owner
Georgie Bell - Whisky Brand Ambassador
Dee Davies - bartender and Jinzu brand ambassador
Metinee Kongsrivilai - Brand Ambassador
Stephanie Macleod - Master Blender
Ivy Mix - bar Owner
Andrea Montague - Whisky Brand Ambassador
Natalie Ng - Bartender
Julie Reiner - Bar Owner
Anna Sebastian - Bar Manager
Shervene Shahbazkhani - Head of Advocacy
Ruth Spivey - Wine Expert
Camille Ralph Vidal - global ambassador for St-Germain liqueur
Laura Volkaite - Bartender
Robyn Wilkie - Bartender
Pamela Wiznitzer - Bartender

It's the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy's birthday

If you know that the answer to the great question of Life, the Universe and Everything is "42", then you'll be pleased to know that today is the day The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was born.

Yes, the creation that brought you Marvin the Paranoid Android, Vogon poetry and the Infinite Improbability Drive, not to mention "the best drink in existence", the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, made its debut on Radio 4 on 8 March 1978.

It has since spawned five books by Douglas Adams, others by his literary inheritors, one film, a TV series, several radio shows, countless stage productions and, of course, Towel Day.

The very first episode set the tone for what was to come in subsequent iterations. Arthur Dent's house was about to be destroyed to make way for a bypass, when it emerged that all Earth was to be destroyed to make way for an interplanetary bypass: interstellar hitchhiking and poetry torture ensued.

In honour of Douglas Adams, a fantastic writer who died too young, we are drinking an Marvin's Last Word, a cocktail created by our friends at Bar 42 in Athens Greece - a bar where Douglas Adams' influence is obvious - number 42 is the answer to...

65 years since Crosby Gaige died

On this day in 1949, the man who gave us the immortal line "Serious persons omit fruit salad from Old-Fashioneds", a founder of the American Wine & Food Society, and author of two cocktail books, died in Peekskill, New York, after a short illness.

A man of varied interests, Crosby Gaige had an impressive herb garden, printed rare and beautiful editions, collected fine wines during Prohibition, worked with Humphrey Bogart and Henry Fonda as a theatre producer, distilled his own perfumes, and appeared on radio and TV to talk about food.

"I consider myself the greatest cook in the world yet unhanged," the New York Times recalled him saying, in his high camp oratorial style. "I may have a certain amount of reticence as a theatrical producer, but as a cook, I am brazen."

They don't make them like Crosby Gaige any more, we fear. And so we're marking his passing with - what else? - an Old-Fashioned.

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