The Drink of Champions
Grog became the drink of choice on board British naval ships during the mid 18th century. Now, before this point, the Royal Navy had tried water, which spoiled and then beer which became to cumbersome to carry, on ship to refresh the sailors on long voyages. After the establishment of naval bases in Jamica and the West Indies, rum replaced the water and beer ration and was a part of naval protocols until the 20th century. The problem with straight rum is the effect that it has on the sailors. They attempted to add water but again, the water spoiled and they were back to a dilemma. Enter Vice Admiral Edward Vernon and his concoction Grog.
Vernon decided that the rum and water mixture, once the water was stagnant, didn’t taste good. So he played bartender for his men and invented the drink – GROG. His version was really just rum, water and lemon or lime juice, which they had on ship due to the fact that they were transporting fruits back from the West Indies. The citrus flavor made the water taste better and the drink caught on with more then just Vernon’s crew. The name came from Vernon’s nickname: Old Grog. He wore a grogram coat (grogram is a coarse fabric of silk mixed with wool or with mohair and often stiffened with gum – wikipedia) and therefore had gotten the name Old Grog. It was just a quick step to calling the drink grog. There was an added benefit – the citrus in the drink gave the men a boost of vitamin C which helped with their diet and of course fought scurvy.
Now, the pirates liked this drink as well and the pirate Captains knew they needed to keep the tradition of the rum ratio0n when they put their crews together. The pirates of course, had to be a little different. They added other flavors and spices to the grog recipe and made it Bumboo.
A Traditional Grog Recipe:
2 oz dark rum
8 oz water
1 tbsp lemon juice
Break out the min-bar and mix up a batch. International Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up, I suggest having a grog / bumboo taste off. Try them both and find out who had it right – the pirate or the navy.