Wray and Nephew Rum: The Popular Jamaican Rum That Wards Off Evil
Wray and Nephew Rum is by far the most popular and best-selling rum in Jamaica. Thanks in part to its lineage all the way back to 1825.
Then, company founder John Wray opened The Shakespeare Tavern in Kingston. In 1860 Wray brought in his nephew, Charles James Ward, to run the business side of the company. Thus the name Wray & Nephew.
Jamaican to the bone
Over the centuries, this stuff has become as ingrained in the Jamaican culture as any reggae song you’ve heard. Or any jerk chicken you’ve tasted. Or any ska steps you’ve danced.
I’ve read that Jamaicans prefer the white overproof over dark rums because there’s a sense that it’s somehow purer. And therefore, better for their health. And that belief certainly translates into sales. As it’s estimated that Wray and Nephew accounts for 90% of all rum sold in Jamaica!
Wray and Nephew Rum uses
Some might find that stat hard to believe, but when you learn all the different ways that overproof rum is used by the locals, it makes perfect sense.
For instance, it’s said that if you rub a bit of it on your head you won’t catch a cold. If you do happen to get sick, just mix it with honey and lime, and you’ll soon be cured. If you’re having a baby in Jamaica, be sure to have some close at hand as it’s often used to christen newborns. Overproof rum is even used to purify the dead before burial.
Honestly, this has got to be the world’s hardest-working rum!
At 126 proof (63% alcohol by volume), it’s also damn strong. And that high proof makes it quite popular in frozen drinks, rum punches, and other mixers.
Good for ghosts?
Among the things that Wray and Nephew Rum does not mix with, however, are duppies.
In Jamaica, ghosts, spirits, and other supernatural beings are collectively referred to as duppies. Rolling Calf and Old Higue are two of the more notorious duppies that are said to haunt people at night all across Jamaica. To keep the duppies at bay, Jamaicans often sprinkle White Overproof rum over the foundations of new houses as their being built.
If you happen to be in an older home, though, you might as well just drink some of this stuff. After a few shots, you’ll be out so cold that even the loudest and most mischievous duppies won’t bother you.