A liver transplant patient turned up to her operation appointment at a German hospital with a bottle of vodka in her bag, a court has heard.

Storm in a shot glass as advert redraws map of Americas

A whimsical ad by the makers of Absolut vodka aimed solely at consumers in Mexico has drawn the ire of some sovereignty-sensitive Americans, forcing the company to issue an unusual apology.

Teenager Coleman given first Aintree ride

Aidan Coleman was yesterday handed the chance to become one of the youngest ever winners of the Grand National. The 19-year-old, who has never ridden over the Aintree fences before, was booked to partner Mon Mome by the trainer Venetia Williams.

Pernod Ricard wins €5.63bn battle for Absolut Vodka

It is a drink whose time has come. Vodka is cheap to make, has no pesky maturing process and (as a result) lacks a strong flavour, meaning it can be mixed with any number of flavourings, or simply used as the base for any number of cocktails.

Russian ladies who lunch are finally given their very own vodka

It's the Marilyn Monroe of Russian vodka. The violet-tinted liquor bottle has been dressed in a white skirt, blowing up to reveal not a shapely thigh but the new "Ladies' Vodka" label.

My DIY beauty brand: Home-made cosmetics

They're overpriced, overpackaged and full of chemical nasties. So shouldn't we try cooking up our own cosmetics? Rebecca Armstrong gets busy with the beeswax – because she's worth it

Will Chase: Crisps and vodka: the proof is in the potato

Using the spuds he likes, Will Chase is trying to find another upmarket niche to build on the success of Tyrrells, as he explains to Lauren Mills

Diageo ditches Absolut Vodka in favour of Dutch rival Ketel One

Diageo, the world's biggest drinks maker, has abandoned its pursuit of Sweden's Absolut Vodka after buying into its Dutch rival, the vodka brand Ketel One.

Lough Derg lands upset to keep up Pipe's hot streak

The in-form David Pipe stable carried on their hot streak yesterday with a double at chilly Ascot, headed by Lough Derg's 14-1 triumph in the Grade One feature, the Long Walk Hurdle.

The Third Leader: Milk and honey

Some accuse David Cameron of a lack of substance. I hope they are feeling chastened today: this is a man whose announcement that he wants to make us happy is swiftly followed by the news that one of his favourite songs is Benny Hill's Ernie. Implementation in three days. Impressive.

Brazil gripped by fear as gang riots spread

Dozens more people, mostly prisoners, were killed and the streets of Brazil's business capital gripped by fear yesterday as a crime wave of unprecedented violence swept over Sao Paulo for a third night, taking the overall death toll to more than 70.

Book Group: John Walsh reviews the June book - Dry, by Augusten Burroughs

Self-absorbed, but a brilliant read

Shaken or stirred, vodka raises British spirits

For centuries, vodka's surgical jolt was a pleasure enjoyed only within the chilly confines of Russia and its Slavic neighbours. Even 40 years ago, James Bond's shaken vodka martini denoted something exotic and dangerous to British audiences.

Jeremy Clarkson
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own