15 facts about rum – from Blackbeard’s gunpowder cocktail to blood nickname

Get set to raise a glass as it's officially National Rum Day on Monday!

Did you know that the tipple is the first spirit to have ever been manufactured and distilled back in the 1620s?

Or that singer Bruno Mars has his own SelvaRey brand?

Here we give a toast the beverage with 15 more fascinating facts…

Are you a fan of rum? Or is there another tipple that's you love more, don't forget to let us know in the comments section below…

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1. Rum is made from distilling sugarcane and its name may have come from an old drink called rumbullion or from glasses called rummers used by Dutch seaman. The different shades of rum are down to ageing in barrels.

2. Around 80% of the world’s supply still comes from the Caribbean where it was first distiller.

3. The world’s largest rum distillery owned by Bacardi is in San Juan, Puerto Rico and produces 100,000 litres of the stuff every 24 hours. Rapper Cardi B’s name is based on the brand.

4. Sailors in the Royal Navy were once given half a pint of rum as part of their daily rations. It was issued on board at 11am-12noon with a call of "Up spirits!"

5. The tradition dated back to 1655, replacing brandy, when Jamaica was captured by the British. Rum was a by-product of the island’s sugar refining process.

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6. It was diluted by the navy in 1740 over concerns about drunkenness and dubbed ‘grog’. The ration ended for good on July 31, 1970, known as Black Tot Day, over health and safety fears.

7. A double ration of rum could be served before battle and the saying “splice the mainbrace” comes from extra rum given for performing hard tasks on board.

8. Famous pirate Captain Blackbeard liked a cocktail of rum and gunpowder. The love of pirates for the drink was immortalised in Robert Louis Stevenson’s book Treasure Island which featured the song: “Fifteen men on the dead man's chest, yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum.”

9. Rum has gone by the nicknames ‘aguardiente’ meaning ‘fire water’ in Spanish and ‘kill-devil’ as the harshness of old rum meant people though it had the power to killed demons inside you.

10. Nelson’s Blood became a nickname for rum based on the tradition that Admiral Lord Nelson’s body was preserved in the booze after he died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805…but that was actually brandy and it’s a myth that the sailors on board HMS Victory drank the stuff.

11. In the 1800s rum was used as shampoo and it was even believed that it could thicken hair and could combat scurvy at sea.

12. The oldest existing brand is Mount Gay rum from Barbados dating back to 1703. Sixteen bottles of rum dating back to 1780 found at Harewood House near Leeds sold for a whopping £135,000.

13. Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes launched his own Great British Rum Brand distilled with exotic woods. Best-selling rum-based brands include Captain Morgan and Malibu.

14. Other fans of rum have included Lord Byron and US President George Washington.

15. Cocktails made with rum include the daquiri, pina colada and mojito from Cuba which was a favourite of author Ernest Hemingway.

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