Yo, Ho, Ho and a Bottle of Rum!

September 19, 2012

Song of the Day: Slither by Velvet Revolver

“Ah. Rum and a new flintlock. Brings a tear to me eye.” ~ Henri, The Siren’s Song

Drink up, me hearties! Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day! For me, it’s like a holiday. No surprise, there. And because it’s a holiday, I’m going to post a blog I wrote that originally appeared on Carina Press’s blog. Hey…it’s a holiday. We pirate wenches don’t work on holidays.

So for fun, let’s talk about something near and dear to a pirate’s heart. RUM!

Pirates sure loved their liquor. Who could forget the Pirates of the Caribbean scene where Elizabeth Swann burns Jack’s stash on a deserted spit of land to signal a passing ship for help. Poor Jack was beside himself. Oh yes, pirates loved their sauce. Perhaps it was pirate Richard Haines who said it best with this sentiment. “A life without liberty is not worth living. But a life with liberty and no beer mug ain’t much better.” Hear! Hear!

As colorful as pirates were, both in fact and fiction, so were their choices of poison. They guzzled rum, beer, brandy, and wines.

But man needs water to survive. Fresh water, also known as sweet water, was a precious commodity because stagnant water often soured in their casks. Think – slime in the ice machine. Yuck! So to make the water more palatable, rum, beer, or wine was added. The mixture was called grog and was rationed out to crewmen daily.

Pirates were quite creative in their elixir concoctions, too.

Bumboo was an alcoholic beverage of rum, sugar, lemon and lime juices, and nutmeg. Drink this, mate, and you may stave off a bout of scurvy.

Arrack was made from fermented fruits, grain, and sugar cane. Toke was liquor made from fermented honey. I’m not entirely convinced that these drinks were sweet to taste.

Kill-Devil rum included booze, beer, and raw eggs. Eww!

Hangman’s Blood, a potent medley of various strong liquors, could knock even the most hardened fellow on his arse. It was probably best not to smoke while drinking this mixture for fear of igniting. Whoosh!

In The Siren’s Song, pirate Captain Thayer Drake’s rum drinking is one battle he can’t seem to win. Perhaps Gilly, the beautiful songstress he saved from drowning, will help him kick the habit. But not after one particularly exasperating evening with her. Instead, he hits the bottle harder than usual, stirring gunpowder into his rum. Gunpowder rum? Yes, pirates did do this. Gunpowder contains saltpeter which was believed to deaden sexual desires. It was also thought to inspire courage and aggression before heading off into battle.

To read an excerpt of The Siren’s Song, click here.

As far as swilling goes, I think I’d fit in just fine with the pirate brethren. From rum and cola to the fruitier Jamaican Sunrise, I love rum drinks. What’s your favorite rum drink? Not a fan of rum? What is your adult beverage of choice?