Irish Coffee arrived in America this day
The splendidly named Stanton Delaplane, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, may have won a Pulitzer Prize for Reporting, but his legacy remains that icon of 1960s sophistication, the Irish Coffee.
On this day in 1952, Stanton sat with Jack Koeppler, then owner of San Francisco's Buena Vista cafe, trying to recreate a drink he'd discovered in Dublin airport - the Irish Coffee. It would take a while before Koeppler perfected the recipe pioneered by Ireland's Joe Sheridan, yet once he did a global phenomenon was born. Stanton himself went off the drink within five years, but the Buena Vista still churns out thousands every day.
So put aside your preconceptions, warm a glass and some cream, make yourself an Irish Coffee. Then read the full story of Stanton Delaplane, the Buena Vista cafe and the Irish Coffee.
The iPod's birthday
On this day in 2001, Apple's first iPod made its debut, transforming the world of in-gym listening and making the daily commute rather more pleasant than previously.
One of the late, great Steve Jobs' aesthetic triumphs, the iPod helped transform Apple from its role as purveyor of PC-alternatives and software to a cult designer of electronic objects of beauty (if not, necessarily, durability). It also paved the way for the iPhone.
If you, like us, are a sucker for anything Apple, you might want to commemorate not only the iPod but also the late Mr Jobs. We recommend the Apple Blossom cocktail, a drink which, like so many Apple products, combines a deceptive simplicity with a beautiful complexity.
It's also Windows birthday
On this day in 1983, a young Bill Gates unveiled a revolutionary piece of software, Windows 1.0, at the impressive price of $99 (Apple's Lisa system, by contrast, cost $10,000).
Loadable from two floppy disks, it would contain a notepad, clock, calendar, cardfile, file manager, a game, plus Windows Write, Windows Paint and a file manager. And was it revolutionary. Most home PC users were still manually coding everything in MS-DOS. And most would remain so for another couple of years, while Microsoft struggled to release the product.
Here at Difford Towers, we're not great fans of Windows. But we do love Bill Gates, one of very, very few billionaires to put his money where his mouth is and do something to try and change the world. So we're Mr Gates, whose current project is to eradicate malaria, a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year, with a Café Gates - rather appropriate on the day that the coffee cocktail was first made in America.
The day the far east party set off
Ever heard of Douglas Mawson? No? Well, this day in 1912, Mawson set off from Antarctica's gale-swept Cape Denison to explore its icy eastern coast. Over a month in, a crevasse claimed the life of one man, most of the expedition's food, clothing and shelter, as well as several dogs. Mawson and his surviving companion, Mertz, headed for home, hoping to live off their remaining dogs.
When Mertz fell sick, Mawson hauled him across Antarctica on a sledge by hand. And, after his death, he set out, alone, to make it home against incredible odds. Mawson survived frostbite, infected fingers, the loss of his nasal lining and a fall into a crevasse to return, half-starved, with his body shedding skin. He lived and thrived to almost 80.
We are toasting Mawson, every bit as much a hero as Scott of the Antarctic, with an Eastern Cocktail. Chin chin!