A Pirate’s Life tells the stories of history’s most infamous buccaneers and imagines the kind of rum they’d stash if they were alive today. Over the years, Ireland has had its fair share of pirates and Grace O’Malley is remembered as one of the fiercest of them all.
Famous for her defiance of English rule and dedication to her homeland, O’Malley was a scourge of the Atlantic and truly a pirate queen. Let’s examine her rum collection to see what she’d be drinking while she was plundering.
Ion Whisky Cask Spiced Rum
O’Malley has left a lasting impression on the people of Ireland for her fighting spirit, leadership and political savviness.
She became the head of her clan when her father died and carved out a legacy as a woman who ruled over a great amount of land across the Emerald Isle. O’Malley also acted in open defiance against Queen Elizabeth of England, refusing to acknowledge her rule over Ireland.
O’Malley would certainly drink a rum that’d been created in her own honour and that is the case with Ion Spiced Rum. Aged in ex-whisky oak casks, this rum has been infused with citrus peel, ground kola nut, ginger and cassia bark.
O’Malley’s sea raids against English vessels were legendary. She was an apex predator, fast, quick and deadly, much like an orca and she would likely have admired the killer whale for its effectiveness at sea.
A rum to remind her of her prowess is SeaWolf white, which is produced at the Strathearn distillery in Scotland. Made from imported molasses that’s been fermented with champagne and rum yeasts, SeaWolf is distilled in a pot still and features tropical notes of banana, pear and earth.
Despite being married more than once, O’Malley’s true love was the sea. She developed her life-long passion from a young age and ignored her family’s attempts to lock her into a life on land.
There’s a story that tells of how she cut her hair to pass as a boy in an attempt to become a sailor on her father’s ship. She’d been told that her long hair would catch on the ship’s ropes and aimed to prove her family wrong.
When her father found out what she’d done, O’Malley was given the nickname Grainne Mhaol, which comes from the word ‘maol’ to mean bald or cropped hair.
A drink to represent her love for the sea is Tidal rum, a golden rum blended from four Caribbean varieties and infused with Pepper Dulse seaweed. The four rums include a three-year aged column distilled product from Trinidad, a two-year old Jamaican variety, a three-year old Bajan blend and a two-year old Dominican rum.
Devil Bridge Rum
O’Malley operated during a time when women were severely underestimated and she’d no doubt be fond of stories where other women were able to get the better of those who thought themselves superior.
One such story comes from Wales and involves the devil wandering the land when he came across a woman separated from her cow by a river. Seeing an opportunity, the devil offered the woman a bridge to cross in exchange for the first soul to cross it. The woman outsmarted the devil by throwing a loaf of Bara Brith bread across the bridge for her dog to fetch.
This story is at the heart of Devil Bridge spiced rum, which is infused with the legendary Welsh Bara Brith, Glengettie black tea and Shirgar Carmanthanshire butter.
Anne Bonny was another Irish pirate who made a name for herself and you can check out the kind of rum she’d collect here.