Blackbeard’s Grog, a legendary recipe
By William W. Lawrence Sr.
You know him as Blackbeard the Pirate.
He was born Edward Teach in Bristol England and was known by several names — Thatch, Thach and Drummond. Except for the fact that he went to sea as a youth, his early life remains a mystery. He was a demon, a brutal giant who loved to spill blood.
His ship, a captured French vessel which he renamed the Queen Anne’s Revenge, was swift and carried 40 cannons.
His long beard was braided into pigtails and tied with ribbons. He wore six pistols on one shoulder and a cutlass on the other.
Before going into battle, he shoved lengths of cannon fuse under his headgear and lit them to smolder. His evil countenance, framed by smoke caused many victims to surrender before a shot was fired.
Blackbeard had captured and looted many ships. He became famous, however, only when he defeated a British man-o-war, The Scarborough. The story of his victory spread, and Blackbeard became the most feared pirate in the world.
His biggest triumph came in 1717 when he easily captured five richly laden ships practically in the Charlestown, S.C. harbor. His ships (he now had three under his command) were loaded with goodies taken from other vessels, but he needed medical supplies.
He sent word to the South Carolina governor that unless he coughed up the medicine, Blackbeard would burn the captured ships and kill the crews.
The governor delivered the medical supplies.
The King of England had recently offered amnesty to all the cutthroats who vowed to give up piracy and go straight.
Blackbeard was a thug without honor. He decided to accept the offer, but had no intentions of giving up his joys of pillaging and killing. In 1718, Blackbeard the pirate ruled the seas and called North Carolina home.
He made deals with Charles Eden, the corrupt royal governor of North Carolina who gave him and his crews certificates of pardon and allowed them to use Ocracoke Island as their headquarters and to continue looting and robbing.
At first the North Carolina traders were in favor of the deal because they could buy Blackbeard’s booty cheap. Then Blackbeard started to bully and rob the traders. Eden did not give ear to their complaints, so the traders sent a delegation to Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood. The honest Spotswood decided to end the reign of terror even though he had no jurisdiction in the area.
“No one must know what I do tonight,” Spottswood told himself. “North Carolina’s governor cannot be trusted. Many on my own council are in league with the devil.” He was going to act on the theory that the best weapon was surprise — and some well-manned sloops.
“Yes, we must deal with him now, here,” Spottswood told his advisers, “lest his presence haunt us to our graves.”
He sent two British warships to the pirate’s headquarters on Ocracoke Island with instructions to capture Blackbeard and his crew of 20 pirates.
Lt. Robert Maynard was in command of the ships. After many exchanges of cannon fire, Blackbeard figured he had the advantage and boarded Maynard’s sloop. Maynard and Blackbeard exchanged pistol shots. Blackbeard, whose brain was a bit foggy from a belly full of grog, missed.
Maynard did not miss. He planted a bullet directly in Blackbeard’s chest.
It did not even slow him down. He went after Maynard with his cutlass, Maynard parried and struck telling blows with his sword. Finally, bleeding from a score of wounds Blackbeard sunk to the deck. He drew another pistol and aimed at Maynard, but was too weak to pull the trigger. He died in a pool of blood. Maynard’s men hung Blackbeards’ severed head on a mast and returned to Okracoke in triumphant victory.
1 Tsp. of sugar
Juice of 1/4 lemon
2 ounces dark rum
Mix them together, add hot water and stir.