How Rum Helped the U.S. Win Its Independence

merican revolutionaries liked to drink. It didn’t matter too much whether they wer drinking beer, cider or wine—so long as it got them busky, biggy or fuzl’d (all terms from Benjamin Franklin’s list of more than 200 synonyms for “drunk”).

But in the years leading up to the war, Rebecca Rupp writes for National Geographic’s The Plate, there was one libation that reigned supreme: rum.

An offshoot of the Caribbean’s sugar trade (rum is fermented molasses), the drink quickly found its way to the American colonies. So much of it, that in 1699 a British observer commented that rum was “much ador’d by the American English” as “the Comforter of their Souls, Preserver of their Bodies, Remover of their Cares, and Promoter of their Mirth.” Some historians think around this time American men drank, on average, three pints of rum every week.

So was rum the spirit that sprung the spirit of the revolution?


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