Something I heard that’s interesting about rum is that we know rum has strong connections with the Royal Navy. And that’s because as long ago as 1655 when the British captured Spanish Jamaica, they took on board local rum. And by the 1730s sailors stationed in the West Indies were given a daily rum issue. However this simply replaced their beer ration. So they were drinking half a pint of crude and very strong rum everyday! There were many accidents on board and men lost over the side!
Ship’s surgeons started suggesting that rum and sailors did not mix! They said “it impaired their health, ruined their morals and made them slaves to every brutish passion!” Whatever that means!
So in 1740 Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon ordered that rum must be diluted 4:1 with water. Well that was a step forward then!
And that was described by the Victualling Department of the Ministry of Defence as “perhaps the greatest improvement to discipline and efficiency ever produced by one stroke of the pen.”
Interestingly, the daily tot was only finally abolished as recently as 31st July 1970.
I’ll be adding to this series of ‘An interesting fact about…….’ by adding a fact about whisky, cognac, tequila, gin and vodka of course.