A Pirate Cocktail

During the height of piracy, in the Caribbean, there was a lot of drinking going on.  Pirates are notorious for their ability to consume vast amounts of rum.  Pirates that made their change from the Royal Navy to “going on account” had gotten use to having a rum ration on board ship.  It is no feat of logic to think that they would continue that when they made the move to piracy.  And one of the cocktails that the pirates made with rum was bumboo.

bumbooNow, I am a fan of rum.  Rum and the islands around the Caribbean have a long history.  Rum of course is a distilled alcoholic beverage that is made from sugarcane juice or from sugar cane by products.  The climate in the Caribbean is a perfect place to grow sugarcane and like anything that people crave, the want for rum made for a thriving industry.  It is no doubt that the pirates made their home in the home of rum.  The pirate towns (Tortuga, Port Royal, etc) had huge rum distilleries that not only supplied rum to other parts of the world but supplied rum to the Caribbean and the pirates that made their home base there.

Now, at some point, a pirate decided that drinking rum by itself was good… but it could be better.  So, the pirates mixed the rum with gunpowder (a favorite of Blackbeard), thinking that the mixture would make them look manly in front of the other pirates in the bars and dives of the Caribbean and potentially attract someone of the opposite sex as well. This was not a good pirate cocktail and probably caused some early pirate deaths, as well.

Finally someone hit on an idea:  “Let’s take some of the spices that we have raided from these ships and mix it with the rum to make it taste better!”  Thus Bumboo was born.  Rum, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Almost an eggnog without the egg, just the nog.  Bumboo became the drink of choice in the Caribbean for years during the Golden Age of Piracy.  Grog (made with citrus fruits to counteract the effects of scurvy) could be dropped from the diet of the Caribbean pirates due to the large amount of citrus fruit in their diets because they could have fresh fruit as they toured the area from island to island.  Bumboo was sweeter and had a better flavor and the pirates loved it.  Below is a basic bumboo recipe.


  • 2 ounces of rum
  • 1 ounce of water
  • 2 sugar cubes
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • sprinkle nutmeg
  • Mix in an old fashion glass, served straight up, without ice
  • an optional slice of lime can be added
Have a piratey night tonight.  Get a bottle of rum, raid the spice cabinet and mix some bumboo.  Serve it in a coconut shell, get an eye patch and pillage something or… someone you love