Thursday, November 1, 2007

Newfie Screech- We have the Yanks to thank?

Back in the day, Jamaican rum was a popular part of a Newfoundlander’s diet, as we traded salt fish to the West Indies in exchange for rum (that would have been when we actually had fish to trade with anyone!). The original rum was barrel proof in strength so it did not exactly have a smooth finish. Eventually the government applied some controls that required it be packaged in clear glass and began selling the rum in unlabelled bottles. You could say that screech was the original no-name brand. It remained nameless until American soldiers came to the Island during World War II.

I have heard the story told many times, and I often wonder if there is either bit of truth to it. Apparently, a young serviceman, enjoying the lower drinking age, was having his first taste of the brew with some of the locals. They were not supposed to be drinking at the time, as the officer was on duty. But, it was cold, and a little nip might warm him. The Newfoundlander he was with, downed his shot in one gulp, so the American did the same. The officer’s blood-curdling scream attracted a lot of attention. An Sergeant who heard the sound from outside pounded his fist on the door and demanded to know, "What the hell was that ungodly screech?"

Answered the Newfoundlander: "Da Screech? T’is the rum, me son!"

And the name stuck.

A few years back there was an overhaul of the whole brand. Ironically, it was done in part to break into the US market. I hate the new look. Maybe it is because I don’t do well with change, maybe it is because the new look just doesn’t jibe with a name like “Screech”, or maybe it is just an uppity design which conveys little of the history behind the bottle.

What do you think? Which bottle style do you prefer? And have you ever sampled this sweet, yet raw dark amber gold? And for those of you who might scoof at the drink due to its name, I’ll have you know, this baby is the Gold Medal winner at the 2003 International Rum Fest!

Newfie Night-cap
• 1 ¼ ozs. Newfoundland Screech
• 1 – 2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
• Coffee
• Whipped Cream


Steve said...

You are a fountain of knowledge. First you taught me all about Captain Newfoundland, and now you are teaching me the history of Screech!

To me, it's not how pretty you are... it's what's inside that counts. That goes for people, books, and rum bottles! I usually enjoy an amber rum, but occasionally like to sample the sweeter taste of the dark. Newfie Screech satisfies that occasional craving.

Funny story... my wife's twin sister said "how can you drink that? It's too strong for me." She is a rum drinker but thought Screech would make her screech. Well, I served her this stuff around the fire barrel one night and she did away with the better part of a 26er.

God love 'er. She enjoyed every drop... at least those she could remember!

nadinebc said...

I like it fine- don't find it near as rough as people claim.

Your SIL drink it straight?

Steve said...

Jeebus no! She asked me to mix her a drink and I offered her Screech. (I had bought some and intended to bring it back to NB.) She said "No, it's too strong for me." So I mixed her some Screech anyway and brought it out. She complimented the drink and kept asking me to mix her refills. I didn't tell her until I showed her the empty bottle the next day.

She didn't drink the whole bottle. When I ran out of beer, I helped her finish the last of it.

WhitbyDude01 said...

Glad to hear it's still making an impression with people..hahaha

I like drinking it on the least when I used to drink I did...and when I wanted to get absolutely tanked!

The old label was the best. After the shock of drinking it people should be able to look at the bottle, see the island, and say "..cough, people must really know how to to check that place out..."