Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The "Rum Room" at Portland City Hall with deputy sheriffs sitting on seized illegal alcohol. From the time Maine went dry in 1851 until the repeal of Prohibition in 1934, each town in Maine had a Rum Room where seized liquor was stored, then dumped into sewers, rivers, or the ocean. Photo and caption courtesy of the Maine Historical Society.
Today, Aug. 16, is National Rum Day. In honor of Portland's long connection with "demon rum" it's practically your duty to kick off the weekend with a rum cocktail concocted by one of the city's talented bartenders.
After all, it was Portland mayor Neal Dow, who in 1851 made Maine the first dry state in the nation, nearly seventy years before Prohibition. But in 1855, when a group of Mainers discovered that the man dubbed "Napoleon of Temperance" had a stash of rum in the basement of City Hall, they launched a protest to force Dow to destroy it. He had ordered the liquor to distribute for "medicinal and mechanical" purposes, which seemed hypocritcal to the mob storming City Hall. Things got ugly, rocks were thrown, a man from Deer Isle was killed and seven others wounded. This was the Portland Rum Riot.
The favorite drink of sailors and pirates, rum has a history of association with rebellion. If you enjoy these or other rum cocktails this weekend, please drink responsibly.
The Walking Dead at Eventide Oyster Co. Photo: Facebook
Eventide Oyster Co.
Rums, pineapple, orange, tiki seasoning
(It packs a wallop, so customers are limited to two per visit.)
White rum, house made strawberry balsamic puree, fresh lime juice, Maraschino Liqueur finished with a basil leaf
Goslings rum, Maine Root ginger geer, black pepper simple syrup, fresh lime
Boone's Fish House & Oyster Room
Cruzan rum, Pineapple, Lime, Grenadine
THE BASIC BILL
Eight Bells rum, Dubonnet Rouge, Grand Marnier and orange bitters
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.
Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs. A newcomer to Portland, she is an online content producer for the Press Herald.
Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod [at] pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @susansaxelrod