The pageantry of rum at sea…

Originally posted 06 July 2012

The British navy created an elaborate ceremony for serving rum aboard ships, an occasion presided over by the Rum Bosun to the sound of music that was played at no other occasion. (I have tried to find a recording of this tune so I could include it with this post, but no luck yet.) Special measuring cups were used so that sailors would know that they received the precise amount specified by law, and those cups have become collector’s items. The friendly folks at The Pirate’s Lair have put pictures of some of these online, and with their permission I share these:


The Pirate’s Lair site even has information about how to detect counterfeit grog cups, the existence of which I hadn’t suspected until I read the article. As I mentioned in the book, rum has spawned religious ceremonies in several parts of the world, but the most majestic ritual may have been the purely secular one that evolved around the British Navy’s grog rations.