A Brief History of Rum at Sea

A Brief History of Rum at Sea

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Illustrated by George Cruikshank.

For centuries, sailors have shaped the cocktail scene. Although their standard fare didn’t quite match the modern Old Fashioned, the concoctions sailors developed decades ago influenced the way we currently enjoy alcohol. During the 16th century, sailors from the British Navy were given rations of beer and wine. However, the wine quickly turned to vinegar and the beer spoiled long before ships reached land. The introduction of rum from the Caribbean gave crew access to liquor that wouldn’t spoil, but the poor quality of the rum inspired the sailors to spice it to enhance the taste. When the rum rations were reduced in 1740, sailors were given sugar and lime to make up for the decreased quantity; the mixture became known as grog. Sugar and lime not only improved the taste of the drink, but the vitamin C also helped prevent scurvy. Grog was so popular that the drink soon spread beyond the sea to shore and inspired recipes that are still enjoyed today.

Classic Daiquiri
1½ oz. light rum
1 oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. sugar or simply syrup

In a cocktail shaker, shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy
2 oz. dark rum
4 oz. ginger beer
½ cup ice

In an old-fashioned glass, combine rum and ginger beer. Add ice and stir.

Rum Runner
¾ oz. spiced rum
¼ oz. blackberry liqueur
¼ oz. crème de bananes
2 oz. orange juice
8 oz. crushed ice

In a blender, combine spiced rum, blackberry liqueur, crème de bananes, orange juice, grenadine, and crushed ice. Blend until slushy and pour into glass.

Tomorrow We Sail
3½ oz. champagne
½ oz. LBV port
½ oz. dark rum
1 tsp. triple sec

In a champagne flute, combine ingredients and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

By Susanna Botkin, Southern Exposure August 2016