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Colleen Graham

National Rum Day

By August 13, 2008

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If it's not a drink with it's own "holiday" it's a distilled spirit. The summer months are filled with them: first there was tequila, then the Daiquiri and now there's rum. Yes, this Saturday (Aug 16th) is National Rum Day.
There Will Be Rum Cocktail
There Will Be Rum © Malibu Rum

How did this Saturday in August come to have such a special recognition? I get the question all the time and have yet to find the answer. Was it a marketing ploy by one of the rum companies? I know it wasn't Bacardi because I asked. Is it some tribute to rum's early influence on the founding of America? Read Wayne Curtis' And a Bottle of Rum and you might believe this theory. Was it the ingenious idea of some bar hoping to sell more Hurricanes and Mai Tais? That's another possibility and it could have been picked up by others in hopes of increasing sales. Or was it some lone guy, belly up to the bar and a few too many Mojitos in, who declared for the country that that day would forever be known as National Rum Day? Okay maybe I've gone a little too far on this one but you never know.

So the question of the week is... Who started National Rum Day, when did it begin and why? If you know the answer I'd love to be enlightened. Let us not dwell on this mystery too much and instead grab a great bottle of rum, some fresh fruit and start shaking up a great rum cocktail, we have an excuse!


October 29, 2009 at 5:22 am
(1) Mike Pollock says:

I’m not sure about the origin of the date for National Rum Day. However, internationally (at least in English-speaking countries) Rum Day is celebrated on October 21st. This day marks the death of Admiral Horatio Nelson in his victorious battle over Napolean’s navy. Had this decisive battle gone the other way, we might instead now be speaking French. Other than the daily rations of rum that the sailors had and the courage it emboldened them with before going into battle, here is the other connection between this day and rum:
Upon his death, the crew placed Admiral Nelsonís body in a large cask of rum to preserve it until the ship returned to England. Legend has it that when Nelsonís ship arrived in port, the cask was opened and found to be half-empty. His torso and head were significantly decomposed. Apparently, members of the crew had tapped the barrel and consumed a fair amount of the rum at sea. From that day on, sailors of the Royal Navy celebrate the battle of Trafalgar by drinking a “tot of Nelson’s blood” (i.e. navy rum), toasting the memory of the great Admiral.

April 17, 2010 at 3:01 am
(2) Malibu Rum says:

There is nothing so spectacular about how was this day chosen. It was just some authority’s idea to promote this day, of course, followed by Whiskey Sour Day. :)

Mike, that’s quite a great story, but I do not think it has something to do with this day. :)

August 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm
(3) Brian says:

Best way to celebrate national rum day? Apply to be Tommy Bahama’s Rumologist — then it will be Rum Day everyday! Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=290BehmZp3k&feature=channel_video_title, and apply on Tommy Bahama’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/tommybahama.

August 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm
(4) Barnacle Bill says:

Unfortuantely, Nelson was pickled in brandy, not rum. However the aniversary of Trafalgar is a good enough reason for an International Rum day (but woudl the Frencvh agree?)

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