International Tennessee Whiskey Day
So we are drinking a...
The May 21st date chosen for this momentous occasion is significant as it was on this day in 1937 that Tennessee repealed the ban on manufacturing alcoholic beverages, more than three years after the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition so giving control of alcohol to a state rather than it being a federal issue. Nine out of Tennessee's 95 counties remain 'dry' to this day.
The Tennessee General Assembly adopted the resolution declaring 21st May as International Tennessee Whiskey Day on the 5th May 2021. We'll spare you all the "Whereas" and "Be It Further Resolved" in what is a rather wordy resolution but these are perhaps worth a mention:
"WHEREAS, early farm-based distilleries in Tennessee date back to the late 18th century, when settlers traveling west found that our land, grain, water, and climate were perfect for making good whiskey"
"WHEREAS, our State is home to the nation's Oldest Registered Distillery and several other distilleries that date back to the 1800s"
"WHEREAS, in 2013, the General Assembly passed legislation that was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam that set the definition of "Tennessee Whiskey" as being made from fermented mash of at least fifty-one percent corn, aged in new oak barrels, charcoal mellowed, and produced in the State"
That's a lot of officialdom but a good excuse for a Tennessee whiskey and, as May signals the start of barbeque season (they take their charcoal very seriously in Tennessee), a tall refreshing Rackhouse Lemonade seems apropriate.
It's also International Tea Day
Reputedly first consumed in China some 5,000 years ago, tea is the world's most consumed drink after water, so little wonder there's an entire day dedicated to it.
But 21st May isn't merely a day to drink tea and lament its aromatic greatness, but an opportunity to celebrate the cultural heritage and socio-economic importance of a global industry that supports millions of small producers and their families, predominantly in developing countries.
Launched back in 2005, International Tea Day was introduced by the United Nations General Assembly to 'promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favour of the sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.'.
Tea also boasts a range of health benefits for its consumers, namely its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and weight-loss effects.
So today, let's support the tea industry. Why not sample a variety of tea you've never tried before? Maybe whip up a batch of green tea muffins. Or look at your favourite blend to make sure it's certified Fairtrade. We'll be paying homage to the good old cuppa and the people and communities involved in the production of this world-wide favourite in the best way we know how, by mixing an Earl Grey MarTEAni.
National Waitstaff Day
We think Portnoy and Hart-Angelo said it best in their theme song for the television sitcom Cheers: "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name".
And that's what a good waiter, bartender, barista (delete as appropriate) can do. They can turn an ordinary drinking or dining experience into an extraordinary one, one where you feel happy, relaxed and well-looked after.
So today, on National Waitstaff Day, we recognise the hard-working front-of-house heroes in restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and hotels the world over. It's an opportunity to show our appreciation for these dedicated hospitality professionals that make our drinking and dining experiences enjoyable - and always with a smile on their faces.
So today (and every day) remember to say thank you, leave a generous tip, tell your server how much you appreciate them, or better yet, tell their manager how impressed you were with their service.
To celebrate with a suitable cocktail we've looked to pineapple, the international symbol of hospitality, with our own Pineapple Daiquiri but a Simple Pineapple Daiquiri will suffice if ingredients four ours are '86' (bartender code for out of stock).
It's also the day the Manchester Ship Canal opened
"We shall not find a more epoch-making event in the history of Manchester", observed its local paper, The Manchester Guardian, on this day in 1894 when Queen Victoria performed the official opening.
It was, at the time, at an amazing 58km in length, the largest river navigation canal in the world. It enabled the Port of Manchester to become Britain's third busiest port - even though it was more than 60km inland. But, in the long term, it didn't work out. Owners weren't comfortable sending big ships down a narrow, one-way channel; Manchester's exports weren't vital enough to ensure that boats came out laden; and today the canal carries a mere 7 million tonnes of cargo a year. By comparison? A single Chinese freight train can haul over 20,000 tonnes.
Still, the canal does make for lovely riverside apartments, and an excellent holiday jaunt. And so we're toasting the long-gone engineers who built the thing with a Smokey Boat or you may prefer a Navigator or even a Volga Boatman, the latter borrowed from David Embury's seminal Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.
Today is also Afro-Colombian Day in Colombia
Día de la Afrocolombianidad commemorates the 1851 abolition of slavery in Colombia and highlights the artistic, intellectual and social contributions of Afro-Colombians in Colombia.
The day also marks the 17th-century founding of the first village of free slaves in South America - Palenque de San Basilio, which is the only such village that survives today, and its inhabitants very much live by traditional African customs. They are also lucky enough to live on the Caribbean coast, so today we're drinking a Caribbean Breeze as our way of joining the colourful celebrations.
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