Yo Ho Ho Ho…

Happy National Rum Day!

I think one of the best parts about rum is that either you’re enjoying it while someplace tropical or, when you can’t be some place tropical, one sip will transport you there.

Rum has a very dark and stormy past—and I’m not just talking about the drink! It is believed to have been created in Barbados in 1600s. As more slaves and sugarcane plantations popped up throughout the Caribbean, the rum distilleries followed. Apparently, it was initially referred to as “kill devil” (because that bodes well for something you’re about to consume!). Often times, alcohol was used to purchase slaves and rum allowed slave owners something potent and—with all the sugarcane in production—cheaper and easier to access than other forms of alcohol.

It was the American colonists drink of choice and was often supplied by politicians (ummm…hello…why did that stop?!?). In fact, in during one election for the Virginia House of Burgesses, George Washington handed out 28 gallons of rum and 50 gallons of rum punch! It wasn’t until after the American Revolution and access to rum was disrupted that we, as a country, slowly made the switch to whisky as our liquor of choice.

If you want to read more about it—and I highly recommend it, since it’s fascinating and I just glossed over 98% of it—you can find the articles I read here and here.

And now, back to the drinks! What better time than a pandemic to try out a few new drinks? Not sure what there is out there other than rum and coke? Esquire kindly created a list of 12 rum drinks to help you dive in and be transported to a tropical state of mind. Click here for the full article and recipes.

Piña Colada—rum, coconut cream, and pineapple. If I could be at a beach bar in Kailua-Kona—like in the picture below—then this would be my favorite way to enjoy rum.

Huggo’s on the Rocks in Kailua-Kona

Daiquiri—this is probably one of the most popular ways to enjoy rum. However, the blended fruit drink that just popped into your head is not the classic daiquiri. The classic daiquiri is just rum, sugar, and a baby bit of lime. To me, much more appealing!

Hot Buttered Rum—I mean, it’s hot rum with butter and sugar. What better way to keep you warm on a cold winter night? I haven’t yet researched the history of who decided this would be a great idea. But adding butter—why the hell not?

Dark and Stormy—rum, ginger beer, and lime. It’s delicious and less sweet that a lot of rum drinks. If you like Moscow Mules, definitely give this a try!

The Craft House in NYC

Air Mail—rum, honey, lime, and champagne. Yes, champagne. I feel like a complete FAILURE for not knowing that this existed. CHAMPAGNE!

Rum Runner—light and dark rums, banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine. Pretty sure I had one of these in Key West. Maybe it was just a sip of Christi’s…either way, I don’t have a picture. But like most of the drinks on this list, it goes down really easily.

Mojito—rum, sugar, lime, and mint. It is my go-to summer drink, especially at our brunch spot around the corner.

The Craft House in NYC

Mai Tai—You can’t go to Hawaii and not have a Mai Tai, which is why I’ve written several posts about about and/or referencing Mai Tais. Like this one, that one, or this other one to share a few.

Duke’s in Honolulu

Painkiller—rum, pineapple, orange juice, and coconut cream. I can’t recall having one, but it sounds like they go down easily and the next morning isn’t going to be so fun.

Hurricane—rum, passion fruit syrup, lemon, orange slices, and maraschino cherries. Like Mai Tais in Hawaii, I don’t think you can go to New Orleans and not have a hurricane. For the record this was THE first drink I ever ordered…because well, we were in New Orleans (a destination picked because it wasn’t too far of a drive and had a lower drinking age!). Of course, way back then they didn’t even have cell phones—only car phones—and they certainly didn’t have cameras!

Bushwacker—rum, Kahlúa, crème de cacao, cream of coconut, and milk. I think Esquire sums it up nicely when they comment that it’s “basically a milkshake. An alcoholic milkshake.” And really, who doesn’t want to say “bushwacker” to the bartender or the dog (as in: “move out of the way, Luna, Momma’s gotta make a bushwacker!”

Zombie—ummm 4 types of rum, sugar, lime, pineapple, papaya, and the added flare of being on fire? This promises to be a drink you won’t forget. Although perhaps after having a few, you might want to hand the matches over to someone a bit more sober…

I don’t know about you, but I just learned that I drink a lot more rum than I realized. Did your favorite make the list? If not, please share! And regardless of how you drink it—enjoy!

Duke’s in Honolulu

Crossing the Delaware

Happy 4th of July!

I think one of the coolest things about living in New York City is the close proximity of everything you’ve ever learned about in early American history.

For example: Ann heard about a great flea market in Lambertville about a 1.5 hour drive from NYC, so one weekend we rented a car to go check it out.  It was a beautiful drive.  In fact if you drive about about 40 minutes west out of the nasty, industrialized, polluted parts of New Jersey directly across from NYC, you can actually see why New Jersey is the Garden State (and I always thought they were just being sarcastic!).

As we are getting close to the market, we noticed that we were driving parallel to a rather large river.  We pondered briefly what it might be, but being from Texas and California neither of us knew and service was sketchy at best so we couldn’t look it up.

As we’re walking around the stalls, curiosity got the better of me and I asked one of the locals.

The Delaware River.

THE Delaware River?!?!?

She looked at me like I was crazy….yes, Pennsylvania’s right over there.

I mean, we knew we weren’t far as we were heading to Philly after the flea market (which is the Golden Nugget if you’re wondering), we just didn’t realize it was so close.  As we departed the Golden Nugget and continued to follow the Delaware River en route to Philly, we see a sign: Washington’s Crossing.

THE Washington’s Crossing?!?!?  The one immortalized by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze and is considered to be a pivotal turning point in the American Revolution?  Surely not.  But yes, indeed, Siri confirmed it (once we got to the interstate and had better service).

In case you’re a bit fuzzy on the details of The Christmas Night Crossing, Mount Vernon has a lot of information on it, like:

  • Washington’s aim was to conduct a surprise attack upon a Hessian garrison of roughly 1,400 soldiers located in and around Trenton, New Jersey.
  • Washington hoped that a quick victory at Trenton would bolster sagging morale in his army and encourage more men to join the ranks of the Continentals come the new year–and it worked.  The stunning victory served to rebuild American morale after a summer of defeats and setbacks.
  • After several councils of war, General George Washington set the date for the river crossing for Christmas night 1776.
  • The Delaware River is less than 300 yards (268m) wide at the point where Washington’s army crossed
  • It took the American army roughly 4 hours to march from the river crossing site to the outskirts of Trenton
  • Temperatures for the crossing ranged from 29 degrees to 33 degrees, with brisk winds coming out of the north east.
  • Future US President James Monroe crossed with the American forces and was wounded at the Battle of Trenton.
  • Washington’s attack mortally wounded Col. Johann Rall, the Hessian commander, killed 22, wounded another 83, and led to the capture of more than 890 Hessian soldiers.

If you’re interested, the Washington Crossing Historical Park does a Christmas Day reenactment of Washington’s Crossing.  And if you can’t/don’t want to make it, but do want to watch, they have kindly posted the entire ceremony on YouTube (please note, it is the FULL ceremony, not a 3 minute video highlight reel…)

Originally, that was going to be my post, however, since it IS July 4th and we did go to Philadelphia, I feel like I need to include some pictures of Philly as well.  I mean, it was the location of the First and Second Continental Congresses, the Liberty Bell, and where the Declaration of Independence was penned (along with a whole lot of other stuff not mentioned)!

On a side note, Philly is a very dog friendly place–even to the Darling Princess Adelaide, whom most New Yorkers find scary–so we stopped a lot on our walk through downtown Philly so people could say hi and pet them!

Unfortunately, we were too late to get tickets for the tour and Liberty Bell–so we just wandered around for awhile, just taking in the history of the place!

Happy 4th!