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September 23: Ray Charles’ Birthday


It’s Ray Charles’ birthday. Born in Albany, Georgia in 1930, Ray lost his eyesight to glaucoma at an early age but didn’t let that stop him from becoming one of America’s finest singers and composers. He won 17 Grammys and his iconic song “Georgia on My Mind” is the state song of Georgia. He also sang a lot of drinking songs including “One Mint Julep” and “Let’s Get Stoned,” which back in the day, before the phrase was hijacked by the hippies, meant “Let’s get drunk.” So, you may be wondering, “Did Ray like a drink?” Indeed he did. He got into all sorts of substances early on, but in his 30s he swore them all off except for booze. Perhaps not uncoincidentally, that’s when his career really took off. His favorite tipple, which was always near at hand, was what has come to be called the Ray Charles Cocktail. Which is coffee, a little sugar, and a good pour of Bols gin.


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