Argh! I Think I’ll Have Me a Buttered Rum!

After yesterday’s ponderings on the inevitability of the American Revolution, I thought it might be time for something a little lighter.

Recently, I wrote about the similarity between a sailor’s grog and a hot toddy.  After posting, I starting wondering whether a “buttered rum” might be a drink in the same vein and have colonial roots as well.

rum cake
Aside: Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever had rum outside of my mother-in-law’s rum cake. There’s enough alcohol in that to count, but still, I think I should try it, if only for the sake of research.

According to Wikipedia:

Hot buttered rum is a mixed drink containing rumbutter, hot water or cider, a sweetener, and various spices (usually cinnamonnutmeg, and cloves). 

If you recall, the definition of grog was mixture of rum and water, often flavored with lemon, sugar, and spices and sometimes served hot.

Frankly, the hot buttered rum sounds better to me what with the cider and butter, but they clearly have similar origins. However, while grog originated in the Royal Navy, hot buttered rum is said to have originated in the Colonies. Although you should always be careful of information gathered through crowdsourcing, the Wikipedia entry incudes a recipe for hot buttered rum. If anyone is brave enough to try it, let us know how it turns out!

I have to wonder if Colonial women drank hot buttered rum or similar drinks. Colonial Williamsburg cites US Government figures that puts annual per-capita alcohol consumption for people over fifteen at thirty-four gallons of beer and cider, five gallons of distilled spirits, and one gallon of wine.

I was surprised they drank so little wine, but I guess the colonies didn't have the right climate for grapes and much of it had to be imported. With the cost and the boycotts, rum, beer, and hard cider would have been more easily had.

Colonial Williamsburg admits that there isn’t much written about how much colonial women drank. Of course, there isn’t much written about them “not drinking” either!*


* The first temperance movements that I am aware of did start in American during the Revolution, but they weren't focused on all alcohol - just hard spirits. I also don't know that women were a driving force behind the early movement the way they were in the 19th century. There's always more to learn!

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