What Day Is It?

Jun 24, 2014 | By Jack Bettridge

I really didn't expect the bank to be open on Friday. After all it was a national holiday. It was a good thing it was, however. You see I'd neglected to draw funds in anticipation of National Martini Day and was planning to perform my observation at a drinking establishment where I hadn't yet developed a line of credit.

While I was pleasantly surprised at her being there, I still enquired of the teller at my local branch how the bank happened to be doing business on such a solemn occasion. Well, it turns out it was a matter of semantics. While they sound alike, national holiday and federal holiday (when the banks do close) are not the same thing. The latter (such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and the upcoming Independence Day) are designated by the federal government, and the former are not so very structured. For instance, National Pink Day, which just passed (June 23) has no agency, governmental or otherwise, to enforce the wearing of pink. Since I didn't get the memo, I must have looked terribly out of step in navy and white.

But this isn't a blog about pink clothing. Instead it concerns the proliferation of liquor celebrations. Nearly a week before Martini Day came Bourbon Day, and readers of my Friday drinks piece will recall it was recently International Negroni Week with a National Cognac Day dropped into the middle of it. As those tipple days piled up I thought, "well that's a lot of cocktail celebrations," and looked into it. Well, that's not even the tip of the iceberg (or, I guess, in this case ice cube). Turns out, May 30 was National Julep Day (something that I and much of America celebrate during the running of the Kentucky Derby, but it seems that's just a warm-up to the main event). Logically, January 1 was Bloody Mary Day, followed shortly by a succession of hot drink days (Hot Toddy, Hot Buttered Rum and Irish Coffee). February brought us Kahlua Day. I couldn't find a drink day in March, but that's my birth month so I don't really need another excuse to drink. April 7 was National Beer Day. It seems some issues were left unsettled by that celebration, because August 1 will bring us International Beer Day.

You might start filling in your calendar now because summer brings quite a few of these days. While Friday (June 27) is Orange Blossom Day, it's named for the flower rather than the cocktail made with gin and orange juice. (I'm going to fix one anyway.) Next comes Anisette Day (July 2), Piña Colada (July 10), Mojito (July 11), Grand Marnier (July 14), Daiquiri (July 19, which makes for lots of rum celebrating as August 16 is National Rum Day), Tequila (July 24) and Scotch (July 27), making for quite a boozy July.

But back to what kind of bothered me about Martini Day. Since the origins of the drink are lost to us (much like the details of the invention of the cocktail itself), there's no authority to tell us how to celebrate. Some interlopers have even taken to calling it Dry Martini Day. This adds confusion as the first Dry Martinis were named that way because they used dry vermouth instead of sweet, not because they contained little or none of the aperitif. When I finally went to order, I was confused. I like a Wet Martini (two parts gin/one part vermouth), but was I being a heretic by ordering one on Dry Martini Day? I lit a candle to Dean Martin just to make sure I was covered.

Some—not me—are miffed that these days with no authority behind them exist at all. Chuck Cowdery, the Whisky Advocate contributor, bloggist and author of Bourbon Straight: The Uncut, Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey, pointed out on Facebook that anyone who celebrated June 14 as National Bourbon Day had been "duped." The day, he pointed out, was invented by the Party Excuses Network. This is an organization that name holidays apparently for reasons self-evident in its name. Cowdery suggests observing the Congressionally-designated Bourbon Heritage Month in September. I couldn't wait another three months, but I'm sure I'll be ready more bacchanalia then.

I guess I just don't get that insulted when someone dreams up a reason for me to have a drink. What does kind of bother me is that no one is doing the same for smoking. What we need are more National Cigar Days. There seems to be but one. It comes on February 27, which isn't a really opportune date if you're relegated to smoking outdoors, which so many of us are now. You need more days when you can say, "Honey, I don't want to smoke, but it's National Connecticut Shade Day."

Given the plethora of cocktail days shouldn't there be at least as many cigar days. Start with sizes—Churchill Day, Double Corona Day, Robusto Day, etc.—move on to shapes—Torpedo, Piramide, Perfecto, any figurado you can think of—explore the regions—Nicaragua, the D.R., Cuba, etc.—and finish with leaf types. That should give you more than enough days to fill the month of July. And when you're done, you can start over with pairing days: Armagnac and Auroras, Bourbon and box-pressed...all the way through to Zombies and Zino Platinum.

Leave the banks open, however. It sounds as though I'm going to need some cash.

"I'm more than slightly confused by your comment. I was in the room the entire time of the seminar (which wasn't about bourbon but about Canadian Whisky) and heard many questions answered. Jack also stayed late to talk to several people who had further questions about the Canadian Whiskys that were poured and enjoyed." —November 13, 2014 06:32 AM
"How very fitting "What Day is It". I attended the Big Smoke along with all the seminars in Vegas. I thought you were an embarrassment to the event. How do you keep this job? You couldn't answer any questions from the audience and the entire Bourbon Session was a bad joke." —November 13, 2014 00:45 AM
"March??? How about a nice Irish Whiskey or a Guinness on the 17th....St Patrick's Day!" —October 29, 2014 21:13 PM
" am glad to report that this has been a record year for the DCPR brand. Puerto Rico Tobaccco Corporation is the oldest company in the world that makes a cigar. Don Collins Cigars has had to struggle to meet production demand. Thanks to all of the DCPR Family for supporting us. We would not maintain our special status if you did not. If you would like to receive a hand written letter from Don Collins call toll free 866 977-2983" —September 12, 2014 12:46 PM
"Jack, I have been reading CA Magazine for years and I've always enjoyed your articles. I have a question though since I'm still a neophyte in the "XO Level or above" type of drinking. What is the difference between a sherry wine and a port wine, and when are they most appropriate?" —July 23, 2014 12:04 PM

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