Alcohol was both a GodSend and Devil's Torment on board Naval and Pirate vessels. Thanks to Captain Billy Bones in the book Treasure Island, the alcoholic beverage most associated with pirates is rum. Of course, rum has a long association with the British and American navies because both navies had liquor rations and that liquor was usually rum. Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented molasses. At one time it was all the rage in the Colonies as well as Caribbean because of its inexpensive means of production.
Because water had a tendency to go bad onboard ships, due to bacterial growth, rum or other spirits was sometimes added to kill the taste. A dram (a small amount) of rum was often added to a sailor's water ration to kill the taste of the rancid water. This was called grog. This also explained coffee and Tea. Of course this was not just something that happened aboard ship. It also happened anywhere water tasted bad.
Rum would often be the downfall of many pirate crews. Unlike military and merchant ships where some kind of authority measured out the rum being consumed, a democratically run pirate ship, with its weakened code of discipline, sometimes led to a complete disregard for sobriety. There are several accounts of pirate ships easily being boarded because the ship was too drunk to fight One of the best known examples was the capture of Anne Bonney, Mary Reed, and Calico Jack Rackham. Even Bartholomew Roberts, the tea totaling pirate was unable to stop his crew from drinking.
Besides rum, ale was sometimes available on ship but ale, like water would turn bad after a period of time. Of course the bad tasting water could still be drank. The bad ale could not.
Port wine was often available to officers as a substitute for or in addition to a rum ration. Port first became popular among the English when they went to war with France, and could obtain French wines. Unlike normal wine port it is fortified by adding grape brandy during the fermentation process. This makes it more stable during temperature changes and allows it to last longer during sea travel.
It should be noted that Royal Navy Rum was a high quality rum and remained so until it was no longer issued as a ration in the British Navy.
On a side note, whereas the Royal Navy had rum the Her Majesty's Army had gin. Legend has it, the Army in India had a problem with malaria and the cure for the disease, quinine tasted really bad. To get the soldiers to take their medicine, it was mixed with the liquor ration. Thus gin & tonic was born.
It should also be noted that within the U.S. Navy, while it lasted (until 1854), the liquor ration was just as often bourbon or other whiskeys as it was rum. The amount of alcohol was determined by Congress and then left in the hand of the ship's captain. documentation_license
A large barrel usually used for shipping wine and spirits or other liquids or dry goods.
Song lirics using the word Hogshead
15 men on a dead man's chest, yo ho ho and a hogshead of rum!
And the great Exquemelin wrote this
about a drink in his famous book:
"Of the said potatoes also they make a drink called Maiz. They cut them into small slices, and cover them with hot water. When they are well imbibed with water, they press them through a coarse cloth, and the liquor that comes out, although somewhat thick, they keep in vessels made for that purpose. Here, after settling two or three days, it begins to work; and, having thrown of its lees, is fit for drink. They use it with great delight, and although the taste is somewhat sour, yet it is very pleasant, substantial and wholesome. The industry of this composition is owing to the Indians, as well as of many others, which the ingenuity of those barbarians caused them to invent both for the preservation and the pleasure of their own life."
Glögg (scandinavian, early medieval origin)
3 dl of water
1 spoon of cardamom
2 pieces of cinnamonroll
1/2 dl of raisins
1-2 dl of sugar
2 bottles of red wine
4 dl of vodka (brännvin if you´re in Sweden)
2 dl of port
Boil the water with spices, raisins and almonds.
let it boil for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat and leave
it for 1/2 an hour. then strain off the spices.
mix the water with the sugar and let the sugar melt.
pour all the alcohol into the water and heat it up.
serve hot in small cups with almonds and raisin at the bottom
perfect for the cold nights on halfdeck.
Ginger Rum (carribean)
Take a big glassjar. Fill it halfway up with fresh ginger, pour white rum to the top and put the lid on. Let it stand for about two weeks and "roll" the jar two times a day. After two weeks the rum turn golden, this means that it is ready. Serve straight in small glasses
Water and rum mixed together was often called Grog. A dram (a small amount) of rum was often added to a sailor's water ration. A proper grog often included lime juice to help to stave off scurvy and a measure of cane sugar to help kill the bitterness of the water.. .. continue reading, plus Grog Recipe
Rum with water, sugar and nutmeg was known as bumboo and was more popular with pirates and merchantmen. (See Bumboo_
Rumfustian consists of sugar, sherry, ale, egg yolk, lemon peel, gin, cinnamon stick, nutmeg and several cloves.
Sangaree is a type of mixed drink common in the West Indies and usually featuring wine or fortified wine and spices, similar to sangria.
Sangaree is now known as sangria, and it's a very popular modern drink. The ingredients are: priced red wine, oranges, peaches or any other fresh fruit, sugar and pieces of lemon peel. (Sangaree)
12 oz Ale
1 oz Brandy
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 Egg yolk
1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp ground Ginger
Heat lemon juice, ginger, sugar, and 2 ounces of ale in a saucepan over moderate heat until the sugar has dissolved. In a bowl, beat the egg yolk into the brandy. Pour the lemon juice mixture into the bowl with the egg. Beat with whisk until well blended. Transfer mixture into a beer mug. Add the rest of the ale, stir well, and serve.
A brief history of pirates, with emphasis on the centuries-long rivalry between the Cookes and the Hoods: