Sunday, July 31, 2011

Black Tot Day

In 1655, The British fleet captured the island of Jamaica. Provided with a newfound supply of rum, the tradition of supplying seamen with French brandy every day quickly changed to the provision of a tot (1/4 of a pint) of rum. Originally served neat, some time around 1740 Admiral Edward Vernon didn’t appreciate his men’s behavior upon consuming said ration and decided to water down this daily ration and provide his sailors with a mix of 2 parts water and 1 part rum… affectionately known as grog.

This great tradition continued until “6 bells in the forenoon watch” (11 AM) on July 31, 1970. After almost 100 years of daily rations of grog (and over 200 years of rum in some form or other), this great tradition came to an end on a day that will forever be known as “Black Tot Day.” In honor of the demise of this tradition, a special edition bottling of the last remaining stock of Original Royal Naval Rum Tot was released as Black Tot Last Consignment. Now in an effort to provide you, my readers, with a full review of this fine spirit, I have removed all of the cushions from every seat in my home in search of lost change. Unfortunately I was unable to gather enough forgotten currency to  purchase a bottle of this fine spirit (approximately $900).

In its stead, I highly recommend joining me in referring to one of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s fine tomes of Tiki literature (in this case Beachbum Berry Remixed) in search of a substitute – and mixing his version of Don the Beachcomber’s Navy Grog. This delicious mix of 3 kinds of rum, 2 citrus juices and a special honey mixture is absolutely delicious (if the Bum is reading this and gives his permission, I will update this post with the recipe I’ve used – for the time being, suffice it to say my three rums are Bacardi Superior, Appleton Reserve and El Dorado). Now, if you enjoy a well-made “Tiki drink”, you have 3 options: first and foremost, you should immediately find and purchase one of “the Beachbum’s” books so you can produce these fine libations on your own; another option would be to immediately make your way to your local rum/Tiki bar; finally, your third option would be to contact your humble narrator and, if you ask real nice and the stars align, maybe you will be invited to join me in the depletion of my supplies.

To end this post, I raise a glass and ask you to join me in the traditional Royal Navy Toast for Sundays: "To absent friends and those at sea!"

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