Cocktails & Spirits

National Rum Day: Make the Sailor Jerry and Win a Brunch for You and Ten Friends

Saturday is National Rum Day, which means you've got a whole lotta celebrating to do. So where do you begin to commemorate America's first spirit? How about by swapping out your traditional bloody mary for a Jerry Mary. Allow us to explain.

You see, there was this navy man named Norman Collins, who also went by the nickname "Sailor Jerry." Sailor Jerry had a fascination with Asia and the Far East, as well as all its culture and imagery. So naturally, he became a tattoo artist and opened a tattoo shop in Honolulu, inking hordes of fighting men who'd just paid their dues to the country they loved. Like most sailors, he also liked to drink a lot of rum.

See also: Miami Bartenders Dominate Tales of the Cocktail

If you're scratching your head thinking you've heard of Sailor Jerry before in its non-drinkable form -- you're right. Sailor Jerry Ltd. Was established in 1999 by Ed Hardy and Mike Malone, both whom were protégés of Jerry and whom he left their work to when he passed. The company kept the legacy of Sailor Jerry's "alive and kicking" through clothing and a collection of other items they could put art on -- ash trays, sneakers, playing cards, and shot glasses.

Wanting to take it to the next level and paying homage to Jerry's spirit of choice, Jerry Sailor Ltd. teamed up with William Grant & Sons (Hendrick's & Glenfiddich) to produce a 92 proof spiced navy rum. Spiced rum came from the early maritime voyages when sailors realized beer and wine would spoil. And as far as the whole 92 proof thing. Well, the higher the proof the better tasting the notes and the smoother the spirit. Also, the drunker you get. But you already knew that.

Sailor Jerry's has notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and toffee. A product of scotch and whiskey makers, the spirit is versatile enough to be sipped on its own or enjoyed in Manhattan or old fashioned form. And let's not forget the bloody Mary, or in this case Jerry Mary, which we had the chance to try earlier this week as National Brand Ambassador Daniel "Gravy" Thomas walked us through the history of Sailor Jerry's and why it's a better candidate than vodka.

Thomas, who says he'll leave the story on why his nickname is "Gravy" to another day, travels the world learning about the different drinking cultures. Tough job. Most recently, he was in Tales of the Cocktail and Amsterdam and he's now come to Miami to spread his cocktail knowledge with our city. "Sailor Jerry's is a brand that's all about lifestyle and appreciation," he says. "We're all about tipping your bartender and giving back." Giving back is what brought him to Miami in the first place. Thomas came for a Louis Salgar foundation and memorial event. The Broken Shaker bartender was killed in his home on June 23.

See also: Louis Salgar Memorial Benefit at Churchill's: "He Would've Wanted It Noisy and Chaotic"

You can try the Jerry Mary for yourself this Saturday at Orange Blossom, where it will be available for purchase in celebration of National Rum Day. The cocktail will set you back $11, but at 92 proof and garnished with your choice of fix-ins from the traditional olives, cornichons, and pickles to waffle fries, onion rings and maybe even a toppling bacon cheeseburger it's a steal. You also have a chance to win a DIY Jerry Mary brunch with ten of your closest friends. All you gotta do is take a photo of your crazy concoction and tag @SailorJerry on Instagram with the hashtag #screwthecelery. Get it? Maybe throw #screwthevodkadrinkruminstead in there too.

And if you can't make it to Orange Blossom tomorrow to celebrate and participate in the contest, well Thomas has shared his Jerry Mary recipe so you can make it at home and not be left out.

The Jerry Mary

  • 1 1/2 oz. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 heavy-handed dash of steak seasoning spices
  • 1 teaspoon of wet minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of spicy bean or pickle juice
  • Fill with plain tomato juice
  • Pour it all in a pint glass, squeeze in some lemon and lime wedges, toss 'em in. Add ice.

    Shake like hell. Garnish with whatever the hell you want.

    Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha

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    Carla Torres found her inner gourmand voice while writing for Miami New Times in 2012. She has also worked with Travel & Leisure and Ocean Drive. She balances passions for wine, sweets, yoga, and kayaking.