National Pickle Day
In a bit of a pickle? Perfect, because today is National Pickle Day. Celebrated annually on 14th November, this is yet another calendar day that originated in America, we'd guess courtesy of a marketer trying to sell more pickles. However, the humble pickle is indeed worthy of celebration.
In the US and Canada, the word 'pickle' refers to a pickled cucumber, what we Brits call a gherkin. North American readers may be interested to know that 'pickle' in Britain is a vinegary pickled chutney, the best-known brand being Branston Pickle.
Pickles, or indeed gherkins, are a traditional bar snack, predating the cocktail. Indeed, its customary for British pubs to offer large gherkins (what we Brits call 'wallys') as bar snacks. But it is the tiny Cornichon, now often termed a "cocktail gherkin", that tends to grace cocktail bars, so today we are rather appropriately celebrating with a Cornichon Cocktail. We also recommend a Pickle Back or even a Pickle Whack Cocktail.
It's the original Poor Little Rich Girl's birthday
Know the phrase "poor little rich girl"? The original poor little rich girl, Barbara Hutton, was born on this day in 1912.
Heiress to the Woolworth fortune, Barbara's mother committed suicide when she was five, leaving her to be raised by a governess. Though one of the richest women in the world, she endured domestic physical and psychological abuse, was exploited by several husbands and a raft of toyboys and took refuge in drugs, anorexia, vodka breakfasts and pathological spending.
Her own son, whom she had also left to be raised by a governess, died in a plane crash in the 70s, sending her yet further down. When she died, in May 1979, only a few thousand dollars remained of her fortune. As a salutary reminder that money really can't buy happiness, we are drinking a Barbara West.
P. J. O'Rourke's birthday
American libertarian, journalist, author and political satirist, P.J. O'Rourke celebrates his birthday today.
We would like to pay tribute to the great man, who has been married to his second wife since 1995, with some choice excerpts from his Bachelor's Home Companion. "A good bachelor drinks his dessert." "Remember, your body needs 6 to 8 glasses of fluid daily. Straight up or on the rocks." "The only really good vegetable is Tabasco sauce. Put Tabasco sauce in everything." And: "Never serve oysters during a month that has no paycheck in it."
Happy birthday, sir. We are toasting you with a Brainstorm, a long lost bourbon cocktail that includes a few suspiciously European ingredients. Please don't hold it against us.
It's Children's Day in India
While much of the world celebrates Children's Day in June, India has chosen today to honour its youth. Why? Well, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, was born on this day in 1889.
After fighting for Indian independence under Gandhi, Nehru ruled India from its establishment as its own nation in 1947 until his death in 1964. Indian children remember him today as Chacha Nehru (Uncle Nehru) and praise his lifelong passion and work for the welfare, education and development of children and young people. Toast Nehru and India's future with an Indian Rose.