Grog

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Blackbeard from wikiepdia commons

It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day!  I’ve always enjoyed talking like a pirate, and when I started training for the Navy, I though they would enjoy it too.  I was wrong.  They’re are totally over the whole pirate-speak thing.  Lesson learned.

However, since this is a National Holiday (or should be) today’s recipe is Grog. In the days of naval exploration, getting fresh water was a troublesome matter. What could be carried on board would quickly develop algae, which resulted in a nasty flavor. Beer and wine were commonly added, but the mix still spoiled. (Also, there was the problem of sailors hoarding their rations, then going on a bender.) Some genius decided to experiment with lime juice and spices to improve flavor. The idea caught on, and crews that took these steps were found to be healthier than most. Not until much later did we realize that the added vitamin C from the citrus juice alleviated many health problems, most famously scurvy. (This is where the nickname Limey originated.) Rum mixed with 4 parts water and lime juice became the standard ration in the 1750’s, and remained a daily part of British naval life well into the 20th century.

There is never any Grog in the US Navy. Plenty of nacho cheese, though.

Here’s a recipe for fun.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup lime juice
2 TB. brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. cardamom
1 grated knuckle of ginger root
2 cloves
4 cups ginger ale

METHOD

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. At the boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Cool slightly and strain into mugs.

Evening ration for 4 sailors

sailors

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