By Keeth Stone, Chief Beverage Technician, S/V The Usual Suspects.

Rummer Recipes are considered by many to be the prime intellectual property of the boat.  Rummer Recipes are considered by some to be more vital than navigational skills, and the ingredients to be more valuable than charts – no vessel should leave port without them.  Every crew member should be tutored in the use of the tools and given every opportunity to build their experience by practicing the application of the art. The enjoyment quotient of your trip will be directly correlated with the crew’s proficiency in these areas.

There are plenty of bartending books and mixology guides available for reference, and each of them have a whole section devoted to rum-based drinks.  The better books provide a unique tip or recipe and an occasional one will have an interesting anecdote or reference to the history of some of the more notable combinations.

For those who learn better by doing than by reading, many Universities, Colleges, and Personal Interest Education organizations offer courses on the subject, usually with a high practical or “lab” component.  As with learning anything new, practicing at home between classes is highly recommended.  Tutors can be an excellent method to speed up the learning curve or overcome the obstacles that block learning the more difficult concepts, but shop around – the person with the most experience in the field is not necessarily the best teacher.

We hope that our readers will enjoy the following Usual Suspects recipes and other suggestions.

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The Rum Before Sundown

This is our finest recipe and the inspiration to the verse of the same name.  Originally developed by our H'ors D'oeuvres Chef and passed on to the Chief Beverage Technician for further dissemination.  All Suspects continue to work at perfecting their delivery of this classic bevy.  Admittedly, it’s hard to screw up a Rummer, but it’s harder to get the ingredients just right so it is worthy of being enjoyed as The Rum Before Sundown.

Here’s what to do:

  • Fill a tall 16 oz.+ glass to the brim with ice.

  • Pour in two, three, or even four fingers of Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum, depending on the desired octane level.

  • Pour in pineapple juice until the glass is 2/3 to 3/4 full, then top up with orange juice.

  • A splash of cranberry, passion fruit, or other complimentary juice can be added if available, readily accessible, and desired, but is not necessary.

  • Squeeze in the juice from half a lime and drop the spent fruit into the glass.

  • Stir three full rotations with the handle of a spoon, no more, no less.

  • Garnish with an orange circle and/or a lime quarter.

  • Serve with speed, grace, and enthusiasm.

  • Enjoy on deck with the full crew, recounting the day's events, waiting for the green flash.

  • Repeat often.

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The SlumberRummer™

Poured from fine, old dark rum, this is a simple recipe that can be served with or without ice.

  • Take one boat and fill with friends.
  • Ensure everyone has more fun than they deserve.
  • Garnish with lots of sun, activity, and laughter.
  • Be sure that lots of stories are told, and new ones developed.
  • Regroup at the end of the day down below, out of the wind, when ready for bed.
  • Pour one or two fingers of Mount Gay Extra Old Barbados Rum in a tumbler and add one piece of ice and/or a hint of lime as desired.
  • Mellow.
  • Quietly recount the days highlights.
  • Savor the moment, the taste, and the warmth.
  • Slip into bed and enjoy a deep restful slumber.

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The Full Bottle Rummer

Not recommended for beginners.  This is a recipe for professionals. The Full Bottle Rummer is a stealth recipe disguised as a weak bevy.

There are only two circumstances under which this recipe should be employed:

  1. If you are the new Beverage Technician on board – this will gain you respect.
  2. If you are executing a mutiny – this will incapacitate the target(s).

Here it is:

  • Begin with a full 26 oz. bottle of Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum.
  • Ensure that there is a backup supply of several 40 oz. bottles of the same fine rum.
  • Prime the customary four tall 16 oz.+ glasses with lots of ice.
  • Pour four fingers of Mount Gay Eclipse Barbados Rum in each glass.
  • Add fruit juices as directed for The Rum Before Sundown and squeeze in a generous amount of lime, but be sure to leave about four fingers of freeboard so there is room for “corrections”.
  • Do NOT stir.
  • Pass up one glass through the companionway and ask target(s) to take a sip and provide feedback.  Prompt with leading questions implying a low rum content if necessary.  In the rare event that the drinks are not rejected, pretend to taste your own and insist that they be corrected.
  • Pour one finger of rum slowly over the ice and stir gently enough to disperse the new rum through only the top layer of juice without disturbing the rum on the bottom.
  • Squeeze in more lime.  Do not stir.
  • Return only one drink for testing and ask the most dissatisfied person to take a sip and provide an opinion.  Repeat deceit tactics to recover the test drink if necessary.
  • Pour one more finger of rum slowly over the ice and stir gently enough to disperse the new rum through the top layer of juice.
  • Squeeze in more lime.  Do not stir.
  • Again return only one drink for testing to the most dissatisfied person and repeat deceit tactics if necessary to recover the test glass.
  • Empty the rest of what was moments ago, a full bottle of rum, equally amongst the four glasses.  Squeeze in more lime and gently stir into the top layer of juice.
  • Garnish with lime quarter. (The newest addition of rum will make the drink taste stronger and should meet with the approval of the target(s) -  the layer of rum lurking at the bottom of the glass will kick in later and pack that extra punch.)
  • Hand all but your own glass up through the companionway and declare that the drinks should now be fine, then pass the empty rum bottle to the most dissatisfied person (usually the skipper) as you ascend from below with your drink in the other hand.
  • By bringing the empty rum bottle up on deck, the target(s) will make the connection with the number of times the test glass went down for “correction” and will realize they are “going down”.  This will command a great deal of respect from them.

Please note that if you are serving the Class 2 version of this recipe, it may be to your advantage not to display the empty bottle as it might alert the targets to their impending state of defenselessness.  You may also wish to retain possession of the empty bottle in the event of hand-to-hand combat.

We strongly recommend delaying the consumption of your own drink until after the mutiny is over.

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The Crucifixion Rummer

Pan, Pan, Pan!  Hazard to sailors to be found in Martinique.  La Mauny is not a rum.  Engage at your peril.  Avoid at all costs.  If you finish a whole glass of this stuff at dinner, it will become the Last Supper.

As a public service announcement, The Usual Suspects recommend against the consumption of  a brand of spirits available in Martinique called La Mauny, that purports to be rum.  Do not use this in any Rummer recipe.  We also recommend against the use of this product as a solvent unless applied above the water line, and with the heaviest of protective clothing.

The product can be readily identified by it’s logo, which appears at first to depict a plantation worker carrying a bundle of sugar cane, but  in fact depicts you being nailed to a cross after only a few sips.  Flush your system with plenty of alternate beverages if swallowed.

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We also have it on good authority that rum in Guadeloupe should  be avoided.  Don Boyd & Joni Crosby from the S/V Destiny Calls (be sure to visit their Website) provide the following description:

In fact, the local rum here is not available in North America.  We discovered that the reason for this is because the rum here is VERY bad!!!  After distilling the cane, filtering and redistilling it, the Guadelopueans and Martiniquean rum people force goats with mouthfuls of cud to spit into the mixture to give each and every drop of rum a heavy grassy flavor.  The mixture is then strained through the old socks of migrant Haitian workers and bottled.  The key word on the bottle to let you know that a perfectly good rum has been strained through a sock and had goat cud added is "Agricole".  So a bottle with the words "Rhum Agricole" on the label is not a rum to smuggle home next time you visit.  It is not even as drinkable as "Gros Gin" a Gin with Cow cud added and popular in Holland and Quebec.

Fortunately their pug dog Mik was not injured in this encounter.  We concur with Don’s conclusion to stick to wine on French islands and avoid their rum at all costs.  To read the full story, check out the last two paragraphs of Installment 28  - June 16, '98)

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The "Splash 'n Go"

Contrary to popular belief, this is more of a delivery technique than a recipe.  With technical assistance from Prime Suspect G. Paperman, our senior technical consultant on damn near everything, the Splash 'n Go bevy service was derived from the very effective refueling strategy employed by successful NASCAR auto racing teams.  This technique can be applied to any bevy and is particularly well suited to The Rummer.


Jeff Gordon receives a Splash 'n Go Rummer
 and a full tank of gas.

The objective of the Splash 'n Go is to get in one last refill quickly before the current activity at hand changes. (For example, completing cocktail hour and getting ready for dinner, or finishing lunch and following the Customs & Immigration officers back to their office.)

The key elements to a successful Splash 'n Go are speed and volume.  Sometimes either or both of these elements require the crew to modify the conventional recipe to achieve the objective.  This is where a decline in quality may be experienced.  But with practice, a good Beverage Technician will learn how to judge the actual time available, the volumes required (although this is rarely affected by time,) and what time saving modifications to employ to make to the recipe with minimal negative impact on taste.  If you are truly enjoying your cruising vacation, there will be no discernable difference between the Splash ' Go and The Rum Before Sundown (see also - Just One More … and Then I Gotta Go)

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Just One More … and Then I Gotta Go

Unlike the SlumberRummer™, there is no question that this is not a recipe.  Just One More… and Then I Gotta Go is definitely a state of being, inspired by the name of a sport fishing boat at the Milwaukee Yacht Club.

Imagine a big sport fishing boat with multiple flying bridges, eight-foot high wall-to-wall patio doors opening onto an aft platform bigger than most dance floors, lawn chair seating for 12, and a permanently mounted monster cooler that clearly has never seen a fish.  From the cobwebs, the water marks on the hull, the way the boat is tied up at the dock, and the patio lanterns, it's obvious that this boat rarely leaves the dock.  It is also undoubtedly owned and crewed by real characters!  Then imagine noticing the name “Just One More …” in bold letters down the side of the boat,  and Then I Gotta Go” written across the stern.  Truly inspiring.

Just One More …  and Then I Gotta Go is a state of being that becomes a method of achieving the same thing as a Splash 'n Go, but without the rush or shortfall in the quality of the drink, and without having to commit yourself to a change in activity (as this expression can be employed as an embedded loop.)

It is perhaps, the cheesehead version of “Irie”.

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We hope you have enjoyed our recipes, and encourage every cruiser to develop a rich inventory of prime intellectual property.   Be sure to try new recipes of your own concoction, as well as those prepared by others that hit the right spot.  Perhaps you have one or two favorites you would like to share with us?  We’d be delighted to field-test them.   Please pass them on, or better yet, invite us over so we can try the real thing prepared exactly the way you like them.

Keeth Stone
November, 2000

Last Updated: November 1, 2000
Copyright © Keeth Stone 2000