Drinkin' Back When
I'm gonna tell ya the plain truth boys... we're a damned bunch of teatottlin' do-gooders compared to our glorious ancestors. In this regard... I shall tell a tale... and a true one at that.
Way back in 1812 the USS Constitution left Boston. The ship had a crew of 475 officers and sailors. It was outfitted for war with 74,000 pounds of shot, and 11,500 pounds of powder. For drinking there were 48,600 gallons of water, and 79,000 gallons of rum.
Six weeks later the ship made Jamaica where she took on 68,300 gallons of rum. Three weeks after that she provisioned at the Azores where she shipped 64,300 gals of portugese wine. After shooting up the sea lanes around England, she made a raid on the Firth of Clyde where she captured, among other things a distillery. They loaded up 40,000 gallons of Scotch whiskey and headed for home.
The Constitution arrived home with its ammunition gone. So was all the rum, wine, and whiskey. But so the story goes... still in the hold were those original 48,600 gallons of water.
In honour of those fine men... and that fine tale... I will also share a recipe...
Chatham Artillery Punch
Three Gallons Catawba Wine
1 Gallon Rum
1 Gallon Brandy
1 Gallon Rye Whiskey
5 pounds brown sugar
2 qts of cherries
Juice from 3 dozen lemons
Smooth with 1 gallon of gin... just before serving add 3 gallons of champagne.