Posted in Kafevend Blog
Following on from the series on sugar, I felt I couldn't pass up on one of its most famous permutations: rum. Rum is made by fermenting molasses, or in some cases sugarcane juice. Whilst the Caribbean is often seen as the birth place of rum, it has existed in some form or another for millenia as the ancient Chinese and Indians, who made much use of sugarcane, are reputed to have created a drink known as 'brum' in a similar fashion. After its later discovery in the Caribbean in the early 17th century, by slave workers experimenting with molasses, it became a big industry fairly quickly as its popularity spread across the entire area.
Almost as famous as rum is grog. Grog is little more that watered down rum. When British forces captured Jamaica in 1655, rum quickly became an oft-used replacement for beer as the daily ration for sailors in the Royal Navy. However, the sailors would often stockpile their rum rations and get rather drunk- this led to the English Admiral Edward Vernon ordering all rum rations to be watered down. This had the double effect of creating a less potent drink and meant it would spoil more quickly, preventing stockpiling. The name grog is attributed to Vernon's penchant for wearing a coat of old grogram, earning him the nickname 'Old grog'.