Rum Love and the birth of a nation
George Washington’s lifelong fascination with rum was more than just a passing fancy. The father of our nation had an unrequited love for the famed Caribbean elixir, and it may be responsible for some important decisions in his life!
God Bless Rumerica
In letters written by George Washington as well as many other documents from that time period, there are frequent references to alcohol consumption which seems unusual considering how strict most churches were at this point during colonial America.
Washington’s campaign for the presidency in 1757 featured alcohol. 3 gallons per person were consumed then, and that was just about average! It seemed like a tradition to offer voters some boozy refreshment when they went out into their districts but Washington found this sort of thing distasteful so he ran on his own merits instead. When three candidates vied for the two seats in Frederick County, it was no surprise that each contender received about 46 percent of votes. Washington failed miserably with 7%.
When Washington stood for election the following year, he knew that his 1789 campaign would be his only loss in his career. To make sure of victory and avoid any more embarrassing failures like it happened in 1789, agents distributed 28 gallons of rum punch, 50 gallons of liquids consisting primarily alcohols such as wine or cider with some sugar to offset its potency; 34 Gallons consisted solely of alcoholic drinks while two gallons were reserved specifically for hard ciders. Everything was planned down to each sip!
Worried about the outcome nonetheless, Washington wrote to his campaign manager, “My only fear is that you spent with too sparing a hand.” He needn’t have worried, as he had truly appealed to the people and earned the most votes of any contender.
A Nation Built on Rum Love
When Americans were flush with rum, they saw a tempting business opportunity in importing molasses from which most of the rum was produced. This began the chain that would reshape this continent and make Washington one of the most famous Founding Fathers as an incredible general and politician because he helped develop our country’s economy by being its first president!
The Navigation Acts were a series of rules imposed on settlers’ ships that prevented them from trading with any country other than England. These laws helped establish America’s independence as well because it cut off supplies coming from Europe, which depended heavily upon sugar cane production for its economy at this point in history.
With the price of molasses skyrocketing, Americans rejected restrictions and continued to deal with the French for their prized product. This prompted Parliament in 1733 to levy a tax on all non-English molasses traffic which quickly became known as “the terrible act”. But despite this obstacle, many entrepreneurs were determined not only to produce rum but also smuggle it into England so that they could continue producing liquor just like any other country does!
The British response to the illicit trafficking in sugar was a 1764 law called “The Sugar Act.” This measure sought out those responsible and imposed harsh punishment on them, but Americans were not going to let their flowing rum be restricted any longer. Protests quickly turned into an open rebellion that would last until 1776 when America won freedom from taxation.
Yolo Apple Rum Punch Recipe
- 2 Cups of Ice
- 2 oz Yolo Rum Silver
- 2 oz Yolo Rum Gold
- 1 oz Pomegranate syrup
- 12 oz Ginger Beer
- 8 oz Apple Juice
- 1 Apple Sliced
Add the Yolo Rum Silver, Yolo Rum Gold, pomegranate syrup, one 12 oz can of ginger beer, apple juice, sliced apples into a pitcher and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with apple slices.