Life for the settlers of North America was hard. Scraping together enough food to eat from the cold land was certainly challenging. Having enough food to eat was a daily challenge for settlers. Compounding this was a general distrust of water was prevalent throughout the colonies as water harbored cholera and other diseases. Tea was one answer for replacing water. Rum was a better answer. Rum not only solved the problem of water-born disease, it also offered critical calories.
“Rum was not just a diversion; it was nutritionally to colonists who labored to coax a meager sustenance out of a rocky, stump-filled landscape and cold seas. Alcohol has fewer calories per ounce than straight far but about the same as butter. It’s five times more caloric than lean meat, and has ten times the calories of whole milk. A bottle of rum squirreled away in a Grand Banks fishing dory provided the energy to haul nets and aided in choking down hardtack and salt cod.” – Wayne Curtis, And a Bottle of Rum
Rum, ale and cider were the three primary alcoholic drinks in the 1700’s, and rum was far and away the most popular. Molasses was shipped up to Boston from the Caribbean, it was made into rum and shipped around the world. Some of this rum was traded in Africa for slaves, which were shipped to the Caribbean to complete the cycle. Rum had as large a part to play in the earliest days of the thirteen colonies as any drink.