Ideally, it would be Ed Hamilton‘s Navy Strength Rum you’ll have ready, because today is all about Her Majesty’s Navy.
Except for fortifying English sailors, rum (also called Nelson’s blood, kill devil, demon water and pirate’s drink) has had a pretty rum reputation (hence the word rum)—it helped fund slavery, organized crime and revolutions and inspired countless tacky tiki bars.
Here’s the Nelson’s blood story:
After Trafalgar (1805), to preserve it, Lord Nelson’s body was placed in a barrel of rum. Legend has it that when the sailors learned of this, they drank the rum. From that time on, grog was also known as “Nelson’s Blood.”
But, starting in the time of Napoleon—300 years ago—Her Majesty’s Royal Navy ran on rum.
Every sailor (not the officers) received a daily rum ration, affectionately called a tot.
The mournfully celebrated Black Tot Day, July 31, 1970, ended that tradition but even today, if the Queen or a member of the royal family, orders a captain to “splice the mainbrace”a tot (totty) is served to Her Majesty’s sailors.
I’m the queen of my domain, and as such, we are ordering all captains to splice the mainbrace today.
In honor of those sailors who Go Without.
There’s a Block Tot Cocktail, but it calls for maple syrup and rum infused with walnuts. Doesn’t sound much like an old salt to me. I’d go with the traditional.
4.5 cL white rum
2.5 cL fresh lime juice
1.5 cL simple syrup
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail (Martini) glass.