An Excuse to Drink – October 21, 1805 Bottle O’ Rum Day/The Battle of Trafalgar

photo by ell johnson via

Today in 1805, Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson took on the naval forces of Napoleon at Trafalgar. While ultimately victorious, Nelson was felled by a sniper near the end of the battle. After his death the crew placed Admiral Nelson’s body in a large cask of rum in order to preserve it for the voyage home to England. According to Legend, when the Victory, Nelson’s flagship, arrived in port, the cask was opened and found to be half-empty. Apparently, members of the crew had tapped the barrel and consumed a large portion of the rum From that day on, it has been a tradition for sailors of the Royal Navy celebrate the battle of Trafalgar and toast the memory of the Admiral by drinking a “tot of Nelson’s blood”. This date is commonly observed in the English speaking parts of former British Empire as “International Rum Day”/”Bottle O’ Rum Day” to celebrate the victory over Napoleon and the fact they weren’t suddenly speaking French…

Nelson’s Blood

adapted from a recipe at

  • 3 measures of chilled champagne
  • 1 measures of Tawny Port
  • 1 measure of Dark ‘Navy’ Rum
  • 1 measure of Brandy
  • 1 measure of blood orange juice.

Glass: Cocktail

Garnish: Slice of a blood orange

Build in a chilled cocktail glass. Top with champagne.

Leave a Reply