Spring is finally starting to show up in my part of the world, and everyone is preparing for festivals, outdoor parties and nights under the stars. For those of us who enjoy pirating, it helps to have some rum available. For those of us who, like me, are nuts about authenticity, it’s fun to drink the same type of concoctions that would have been drunk during the Golden Age.
Pirates and rum are linked forever by place and history. If you want your rum to be “authentic” then get the cheapest, newest rum available. Pirates drank what there was, and the main point was to enjoy the effects.
Recipe for Spiced Rum
Spiced Rum is big right now, and you may want to try making your own. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, all common in the Caribbean, are the proper spices to use. Recipes are entirely based on the tastes of the person mixing it, so you can experiment, adding spices and then letting it steep for up to a week, then straining out any solid matter and deciding if you like the taste.
Working on such a recipe is also a good excuse to drink large quantities of rum.
If you are in a bit of a hurry, you can also produce your own spiced rum by gently heating 2 tablespoons of brown sugar with one tablespoon of water. When the mixture is a warm liquid with no visible grains, add your spices and continue heating just until they are thoroughly absorbed. Add to your rum.
Recipe for Grog
People wishing to be “authentic” may wish to create some grog. While the grog has been used as a term for nearly any type of liquor, it was in fact a specific drink with a specific name. A British naval officer, Admiral Vernon, called “Old Grog” for wearing an old grosgrain coat, realized in 1740 that giving sailors a pint of liquor every day and then expecting them to do dangerous and technical work was a bad idea. He therefor ordered that the rum ration should be cut with 3 parts of water, and added the daily ration of lime juice (intended to prevent scurvy) to the mix. The recipe is as follows:
½ cup rum, 1 ½ cups water, 2 tablespoons lime juice. Mix together. Drink this every day and I guarantee you won’t get scurvy.
Many of the pirate drinks were mixed together well in advance and then kept for some special occasion – plain rum being just fine for everyday drinking. Below are a couple of such recipes.
Recipe for Lemon Shrub
Lemon Shrub is more of a cold-weather drink but nights out on the ocean can get chilly. The recipe calls for 2 cups of rum, the zest of one lemon, ½ cup of lemon juice and ¾ cup of sugar. Mix it all together, seal it in a glass bottle, and put it away in a cool dark place for a week. To serve, add 1 part of the rum mixture to 2 parts boiling water. You could probably use this as an excuse to drink rum for a cold.
Recipe for Milk Punch
Milk Punch sounds fairly harmless, but don’t drink this and drive. Ingredients are: 2/3 cup of brandy, 1 1/3 cup of rum, 2 cups milk (warmed), 3 cups of water, juice of 2 lemons, zest of one lemon, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
Mix all ingredients and let stand for 2 hours. Then bottle tightly and keep for at least two weeks before drinking. If it kept for a long time, there is some chance it will become effervescent (like champagne) and may “pop” when opened. Be careful.
Recipe for Rum Punch
The classic drink, however, is Rum Punch, Pirates and other denizens of the Caribbean loved this, and looked for any excuse to mix up a batch. The “theory” behind this punch is one part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, four parts weak.
One way to implement this is: One cup key lime juice, two cups brown sugar, three cups of rum and four cups of crushed ice. You may, if you like, substitute regular lime juice for the juice of key-limes (both are available bottled) and white sugar for brown (though brown sugar is more like what the pirates would have used.) Either way, this is very easy to drink, so beware! Pirates didn’t drink and drive, and neither should you.