25 May

Today is Towel Day

So we are drinking a...

Earl Grey MarTEAni

Fans of the late, great Douglas Adams, creator of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, will today be celebrating his work. And they do this by carrying towels, because, as H2G2 geeks know, "A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have."

Besides the towel fetish, the job of telephone sanitiser, and the answer to "the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything" (42, of course), Adams also created the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, a concoction which has donated its name to a range of mostly awful drinks the world over. And, given that the author describes its effect as "like having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick", we are not entirely surprised.

Adams's antihero, Arthur Dent, goes to extreme lengths to get a cup of tea - Earl Grey, to be precise. And so, we are marking today with one of Audrey Saunders' wonderful creations, the Earl Grey MarTEAni.

As huge fans of both Douglas Adams, who sadly died 11th May 2001 aged just 49, and his Hitchhiker's Guide, may we suggest you also toast his creative mind with Marvin's Last Word , preferably enjoyed at Bar 42 in Athens, Greece - a bar where the work of Douglas Adams influences both the bar's name and many of the drinks served there.

Today is Ian McKellen's birthday

Great classical actor, turned gay rights activist, turned Hollywood star, turned... oh come on, everyone! GANDALF!!!! Ian McKellen was born this day in 1939.

And Sir Ian "Serena" McKellen is officially a British national treasure. His bromance with Sir Patrick Stewart won the internet over; he shut down a TV show in gay-unfriendly Singapore by asking the interviewer directions to a gay bar; and, in a feat of pure bloody genius, he's been known to sport underpants emblazoned with "You shall not pass".

And the man who's as happy appearing on Corrie as he was starring in King Lear, who played Magneto in X-Men, and the voice of an animated bear, and who brilliantly slapped down poor Damian Lewis for a casual remark about fruity actors playing wizards, has worn it well.

We don't know how he'll be spending today. Though, given he officiated at Patrick Stewart's wedding, we do hope @sirpatstew will have something to say. Happy birthday, Serena! We hope you'll join us in an Apple Mac.

Today is also Stephanie Difford's birthday

The daughter of the discerning drinker behind this website was born this day in 1994, and despite now working as a science teacher rather than behind the stick, she remains a better bartender than her father, who remembers her helping herself to amaretto liqueur from an early age. So, accordingly, we're wishing Steph a happy birthday with a Amaro-etti Biscotti cocktail created by her father.

Today is also, or it'll soon be Memorial Day

In the US, the last Monday of May is a national holiday, Memorial Day. Traditionally in honour of soldiers, sailors, pilots and more, who died to serve their country, it now also marks the start of the summer holiday season, with Labour Day marking its end.

On Memorial Day, folk attend parades, visit cemeteries and memorials, fly the national flag at half-mast and hold a moment of silence at 3pm local time. A concert is held every year on the lawn of the Senate building and broadcast on public radio and television.

In honour of this special day, we will be taking a trip back in time, and indulging in an old and oft-forgotten classic, the Army & Navy. We have borrowed the wonderful David Embury's formula for this surprisingly subtle drink and added a twist of our own.

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