10 historical facts you didn’t know about rum

There is so much more to rum than the fact that it leaves you in high spirits. This molasses-based drink has seen its fair share of ups and downs, rebellions and exotic lifestyles! It’s also considered by many to be the world’s oldest drink! Make yourself a cocktail, sit back and enjoy these fun facts about rum.

  1. Although rum production is largely attributed to the Caribbean, ancient India and China made drinks out of fermented sugarcane eons before it was produced in the Caribbean.
  2. Rum is considered one of the most romantic alcoholic beverages as it was born during the colonial times and has been considered a drink for “real men” and adventurers.
  3. The first American president, George Washington, is said to have loved his tot of rum. He liked to experiment with his rum and often made his own, unique mixes. When he ran for the Virginia State Legislature for the second time, he arranged for voters to be served 144 gallons of rum, punch, cider, wine and beer. He won by 68 votes.
  4. It was Christopher Columbus who first introduced sugar to the Caribbean. He got the idea from his father-in-law who was a successful sugar trader.
  5. The Royal Navy began the rum ration in 1655. They gave half a pint of rum (called tot) to every sailor to ward off scurvy. The rum had to be drunk with lime which most likely kept the diseases away!
  6. In 1805 after the Battle of Trafalgar, the Royal Navy placed the body of deceased Admiral Horatio Nelson in a barrel of rum to preserve it for the voyage home, hence earning the spirit the nickname of Nelson’s Blood.
  7. Rum production encouraged slave trade as slaves were needed to work in the sugar plantations. Traders from New England would bring rum into Africa and acquire African slaves, who were then taken to West Indies and sold to sugarcane plantations to harvest the sugar for molasses which was needed to produce rum!
  8. In the 18th century, the crew of the ship were usually paid wages in the form of rum. To test the authenticity of the spirit, they often mixed it with gunpowder – a mini blast equated to a thumbs up.
  9. In 1808, The Rum Rebellion began in Australia when the governor of Australia, William Bligh, interfered in the rum trade and made himself very unpopular.
  10. In the 1800s, people believed that rum possessed magical properties that let your hair grow out thick and stopped hair fall.

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