Friday, March 1, 2013

What is Newfie Screech?

My last Blog Entry prompt the question, from my dear longtime friend Kim, "What is Newfie Screech?" I think there are many who have the same question, so I did a little research.

The Story of Screech

The Great Exchange
Long before the Canadian liquor board was created, The Jamaican Rum that was eventually to be known as screech was a mainstay of the traditional Newfoundland diet.

At this time, salt fish was being shipped to the West Indies in exchange for rum.  This resulted in fish becoming the national dish of Jamaica and rum becoming the traditional drink of Newfoundlanders.

The Early Days
Not being overly concerned with the alcohol content, the early fisherman tended to drink the rum at incredibly high sterngth with no attempt to temper the taste.

When the government took control of the alcohol trade in the early 20th century, they put the rum in sophisticated, unlabelled bottle and fortunately did not alter the rum itself.
A Hospitable Host
This delightful product may have continued indefinitely as a nameless rum except for the influx of American servicemen to Newfoundland during World War II.

As the story goes, the commanding officer of the first detachment was taking advantage of Newfoundland hospitality for the first time and was offered a drop of rum as an after-dinner drink.

The Screecher
Seeing his host toss back the liquor with nary a quiver, the unsuspecting American adhered to local custom and downed the drink in one gulp.

The look of shock on the American's face was overshadowed by his bloodcurdling howl as he managed to regain his breath. Sympathetic persons from miles around rushed to the house to assist the poor man and of course to satisfy their curiosity as to what was going on.

Tis the rum, me son
Among the first to arrive was a garrulous old American sergeant who pounded on the door and demanded “What the cripes was that ungodly screech?”

The taciturn Newf who had answered the door replied simply, “The screech?” ‘Tis the rum, me son.” Thus was born a legend. As word of the incident spread, more soldiers began trying this mysterious rum, adopting it as their favorite.

A Legend is born
The liquor board immediately pounced on the name and reputation and began labeling Famous Newfoundland Screech.

Over the years, the alcohol content of Screech has been toned down and the flavor mellowed, so that in 2003, Screech Rum won a gold medal for excellent taste at the International Rum Festival. Today, Screech Rum is an international favorite amongst all rum aficionados.

In my next Blog Entry I will explain how to be come a "Honorary Newfoundlander".  I will give you one clue, "Newfie Screech" has something to do with it.

The above information was obtained through the website check it out for more information.


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