20 September

Rum Punch Day

Rum Punch

So we are drinking a...

Rum Punch

Whether you're a collector of antique punch bowls, a fully-fledged punch anorak, or just a casual dabbler, the original spirits-based mixed drink, punch, is certainly worth celebrating.

The classic punch may be arrack based but Rum Punch is king. There's just something about rum, particularly overproof, that pairs beautifully with the four other ingredients of punch: the sweet, the sour, the spice and the weak.

So we are super-chuffed that today is, officially, Rum Punch Day. And, whether punch originates from "panch", the Hindi word for "five", or "puncheon", a container for liquor [see the history of Punch], we like ours made to the classic proportions - "one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak". Enjoy! And a very happy Rum Punch Day to you.

It's also World Paella Day

We do like a paella and break with tradition by controversially adding slices of chorizo and hoppy pale ale to our chicken paella. It's delicious! However, we're yet to discover how our recipe would fare in the annual World Paella Day Cup, held today in Valencia, the mid-19th century birthplace of this most iconic of Spanish rice dishes.

The dish takes its name from the shallow flat-based polished carbon steel pans with two handles traditionally used to cook paella – paella being the word for a frying pan in Valencia's regional dialect. The wide shallow design of the pan allows liquid to easily evaporate so forming and the crisp, crusty base known as socarrat, that's essential to a good paella.

Paella from the Valencia region is traditionally made with rabbit and/or chicken, tomatoes, green beans (bajoqueta de Ferradura), butter beans (garrofó) " in Valencia), Valencian rice (Bomba or Senia), saffron, salt, rosemary and water (or in our case beer and water, plus chorizo in place of rabbit). Paella de marisco, seafood paella is also very popular in Valencia, particularly in the seafront restaurants.

To be honest, we usually enjoy a beer with our paella, hence how we originally added beer while cooking over gas in the garden as easier than getting water from the house to add a little more moisture to the rice. However, such an iconically Spanish dish deserves an equally iconic cocktail, so today we'll be enjoying a Sangria in place of our usual beer.

Genes were discovered

This day in 1852, scientists Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase published a report confirming DNA holds hereditary data after they proved that DNA, not proteins, held the secret to life, and carried genes, by experimenting on viruses that infect bacteria.

The experiments, along with a separate team's discovery of the structure of DNA, would transform the way we see ourselves, and our world, enabling creations as bizarre as glow-in-the-dark mice and as unnerving as goats with human genes. And the male scientist of the duo would be honoured with a Nobel Prize.

We doubt that either Chase or Hershey would have envisaged what their discovery would lead to. But we are toasting them, all the same, with a DNA.

The day that Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs

On this day in 1973, the top women's tennis player, Billie Jean King, beat a retired male No. 1 player, Bobby Riggs, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, watched by an audience of over 50 million worldwide, in a match billed as The Battle of the Sexes.

Why did it matter? Well, Riggs, a self-proclaimed chauvinist, had been bragging the world over that even at his advanced age (55), he could beat any woman, no matter who. And he had previously beaten Margaret Court. Billie Jean King, however, smashed him, comprehensively, in straight sets.

We are toasting Ms King with a Lady's Sidecar, a theoretically feminine take on the classic Sidecar cocktail.

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