Just a reminder, International Drink Like a Pirate Day is this Saturday, September 19th. Be ready.
And by being ready, I mean: Ensure you have lots of different rums on hand, since what is pirate drinkin’, wenchin’, and talkin’ without plenty of the old rumbullion, rumbustion, rhum, or even ron, as the pirates’ chief prey would have it?
But what kind of rum? As of this writing, I intend to do three pirate drinks on International (Drink) Like a Pirate Day, with distinctly different characters. First off, we’ll need basic mixing rums, one light, one dark, and one nicely aged. Any good Basement Bar owner should really have these supplies in stock full time, not just on September 19th. My favorite day-to-day rum maker is Mount Gay. At only a buck or two more than the bat beverage, it offers, at least to me, a noticeable improvement. (Liquor Fairy disclaimer on Mount Gay, FWIW) For those scurvy dogs, the British Navy, and their fancy dan ways, lay in a bottle of good navy rum like Pusser’s.
But the main focus for this post is the brand which should just own International Talk Like a Pirate Day. If any brand, in any industry, should be talked of in the same breath with any silly internet-meme high holy day, it’s this one.
That’s right, Captain Morgan should be all over ITLaPD like Mad Morty Rackham on a tavern wench after six months at sea. The fact that a Google search indicates that they are not so inclined will entirely fail to dissuade me from talking about them anyway.
The Captain doesn’t get a lot of respect from hoity-toity rum-o-philes, and that’s pretty reasonable. Captain Morgan’s is a mass-market product that offers little in the way of complexity or depth. But even said hoity-toity rum-o-philes admit that they once upon a time drank a lot of it, and enjoyed themselves along the way. I’d bet the good ship Buccaneer’s Strumpet that any genuine pirate, modern or of yore, would vastly prefer the sweet and gently spicy taste o’ the Cap’n to most premium rums today. Fact is, Captain Morgan’s is designed for the mass-market, to provide some tasty, bawdy fun, and little else. All of which makes it perfect for ITLaPD. Sure, the success of the brand is certainly due as much to marketing as it is to product….
Try almost entirely!
I thought you’d see I was talking about you. Still, the product has been plenty successful, even spawning such Talk Like a Pirate Day essentials as this:
I encourage you to pick up one of these for the First Mate right now.
Wait. Better up your life insurance first….
While the historical Captain Morgan was pretty cool on his own, his modern incarnation is practically the Mickey Mouse of hooch. A few months ago, I saw a dude in complete, letter-perfect Captain Morgan get-up wandering the aisles of a local liquor store. I don’t know why, since whatever he was after, he wasn’t buying rum!
And yes, just like Coca-Cola, much of Captain Morgan’s success over even similar brands can be laid to marketing. They push their brand at parties and sponsored events constantly. And they do this all over the United States, not just in New York and Los Angeles.
Studies Sales have shown that consumers respond to marketing efforts like hot chicks (almost) wearing brand-labeled clothing while serving said brand in brand-labeled plastic cups. As Mad Morty Rackham would put it,
Avast! A fine flagon of the ol’ Cap’n tastes even finer if’n it be served up by a fine, proud beauty with a well-fashioned bowsprit. Arrrrrr!
The Captain Morgan folks also have a very cute little gimmick on their website right now, called Calling All Captains. While I (and I suppose Captain Morgan for that matter) encourage you to exercise restraint and wisdom when drinking, especially when drinking outside the home, the facts remain that occasionally drinkers find on the Morning After that they have misplaced several hours from the Night Before. The saintly friend who stayed sober and drove everyone home will fill in those hours for the hapless amnesiac.
That’s if your friend is saintly. Pirates don’t have saintly friends. Pirates have friends who go to Calling All Captains.
Since you are not a saintly friend either, go check it out. Fill in a short form about your friend’s adventure the night before, including such info as your name, his name, the kind of place you were drinking the night before, etc. Then choose whether you want your inebriate friend to receive a voice mail on his cell from the bartender who is a trifle miffed about getting stiffed on the tab, or from some random chick who thinks he’s single and wants to hook up, or even from the very large sounding boyfriend of the chick who supposedly did hook up with your buddy!
This may not be the best pirate prank ever, but it does have the virtue of leaving fewer actual bruises than a good keel hauling. Now get out there and practice your vocabulary for this Saturday!
My good friend and fellow cocktail blogger, Dr. Bamboo, the World’s Foremost Cocktail Illustrator™ (creator of the Liquor Fairy) put up a post on spiced rums at the same time as this post originally ran. Aside from the totally awesome illustration shown at right (go to Doc’s post to see it full sized), he develops a wonderful method of evaluating spiced rums that includes the following data points:
- Pirate stuff on the label?
- Overall packaging coolness.
- (This is the coup de grace)
Flamboyant Badass Quotient — Is the product something that can be envisioned being drunk by a Flamboyant Badass (i.e. a pirate)
In fact, the only two items I can find wrong with this post are that it does not mention International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and that it avoids actually reviewing Captain Morgan itself, or its two closest knockoffs, Admiral Nelson’s and Sailor Jerry. Consider this rebuke fair warning, Doc! You still have two days until ITLaPD to do part two!