Two hundred and twelve years ago today, my nautical chums, Admiral Lord Nelson defeated the combined might of the Spanish and French Navies at Cape Trafalgar, during the third coalition of the Napoleonic wars. Unfortunately for our valiant naval Commander in Chief, he didn’t survive to partake in the post conflict celebrations, having fallen prey to the musket ball of a French sniper.
Once solidly shot and dying, Nelson was taken down to the orlop deck of his flagship HMS Victory, where he expired in the company of his senior officers. It was here that the famous ‘Kiss me Hardy’ moment occurred. There is much conjecture over what Nelson actually said at the moment of his death. However, we believe that what he actually said, as he drew his last, was “Kismet Hardy,” meaning ‘fate or destiny, Hardy,’ as opposed to the more popular ‘Carry On-esque,’ hello-sailor version of events. Certainly, Nelson had indicated before the battle that he did not think he would survive it, so resigning to fate in his last breath seems more credible than trying to get lips on with his 2IC.
Nelson, who had specifically asked not to be tipped into the ocean on his death, was placed in a barrel of brandy to preserve his corpse during the relatively short passage to Gibraltar. Strangely, the level of booze in the barrel was noted to fall during the voyage. It transpired that the crew, who were sailors of the usual superstitious nature, were sneaking a ‘tot’ from the barrel every time they passed by, in the belief that drinking the alcoholic miasma of their revered leader would keep them safe and imbue them with his strength and qualities.
Enough of the history and more about today’s cocktail. At Nelson’s ‘local,’ The Hoste in the village of Burnham Market in Norfolk, one can find this striking, but simple, rum-based cocktail dedicated to the memory of Admiral Horatio Nelson. The drink is a little potent, so if you look out to sea beforehand and say “I see no ships,” then after a couple of these and you might be seeing ships in triplicate or worse. The drink is called ‘The Lord Nelson,’ which is normally a mix of Pusser’s Navy Rum, Galliano, Grenadine and orange juice. Pusser’s rum can be hard to come by, so on this occasion, we just used the more common Lamb’s Navy Rum.
As this year’s anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar falls this Saturday it seems only fitting to end this Nosey Chef post with the traditional the toast for Saturdays (yes, in the Royal Navy, there is a unique toast for every day of the week). So we raise our freshly made Nelsons, and cry ”To wives and sweethearts – may they never meet!”
The Hoste can be found at The Green, Burnham Market, King’s Lynn, Norfolk PE31 8HD, UK.
The Lord Nelson
- 35ml Navy rum
- 15ml Galliano
- 10ml grenadine
- 75ml orange juice
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a long-ish glass.
Garnish with an orange wedge and maraschino cherry.