Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Tis the Season for Out Front The Following Sea


Leah Angstaman's debut novel Out Front the Following Sea releases January 11, 2022. 

Go and pre-order your copy here

Holiday Rum

Unless you want to drink some flat beer or stale wine from a leaking, poorly sealed cask or far-too-potent aqua vitae—or brackish river water that’ll give you cholera, malaria, typhoid, giardia, dysentery, E. coli, hepatitis A, salmonella, or a combination of all 8—then your only choice as a colonist in the 1600s was rum. Luckily, there’s something tastier than plain ol’ grog, and since it’s the holidays, here’s a tried and true colonial favorite: hot buttered rum.


Rum drinks are an essential part of colonial history, and hot rum drinks, especially, since the colonists spent more than half of any given year staving off the cold. In the 1650s, Jamaica began steadily importing molasses to pre-America. New England opened distilleries where colonists added distilled rums to hot beverages, thus first creating toddies, nogs, buttered rums, and more. Egg nog and hot buttered rum are two winter traditions that started back in the 1600s on American soil, and we still enjoy them today. (January 17th is the annual National Hot Buttered Rum Day!) I’m going to be using an authentic colonial recipe to make about 8 servings, but I recommend a slow cooker to do your simmering … because it’s not actually the 1600s anymore.



2 c brown sugar (Do not use any sugar substitutes.)

½ c unsalted butter (Do not use any butter substitutes.)

1 pinch salt

2 qt hot water

3 cinnamon sticks

6 whole cloves

2 c rum (Dark rum is best.)

1 c sweetened whipped cream

Ground nutmeg, to taste


Directions: Combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and hot water in 5-quart slow cooker. Add cinnamon sticks and cloves. Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes, then Low for 5 hours. Stir in well any butter that is sitting on top of the mixture. (If there are lumps of butter still visible, then your CrockPot isn’t hot enough, or you need to let it simmer longer because it’s not ready. Likewise, if you plan on having the drink in less than the 5 or 6 suggested hours of heating, then turn your cooker to High, OR: boil the ingredients on the stove, let simmer for 15 minutes, and then move the mixture to a slow cooker on High for 2 ½ hours or so. Make sure you keep your cooker covered. Simmering is the key, so don’t rush it if you don’t have to.) When the crock is steaming, and the butter is glistening, then your drink is ready. Stir in rum. Ladle from the slow cooker into mugs, and top each mug with whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg. Before you ladle, every time, make sure you’ve stirred up the butter that may float on the top of the mixture, so it isn’t floating on the top of the mug. If you are sensitive to the rich buttery taste, you can scale back on the butter, or let it simmer longer. If you’d prefer to control your amount of rum, or you have some friends who are more or less sensitive to it (there’s no such thing as “underage” in colonial times!), you can leave the rum out of the slow cooker, and just add it to the bottom of each mug individually before adding the batter on top, then give it a quick stir before you add whipped cream. Dabs of nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla can be added to the mixture for more flavor, to taste. (Adapted from an authentic colonial recipe, and modified by yours truly.)


Out Front the Following Sea is a historical epic of one woman's survival in a time when the wilderness is still wild, heresy is publicly punishable, and being independent is worse than scorned--it is a death sentence. At the onset of King William's War between French and English settlers in 1689 New England, Ruth Miner is accused of witchcraft for the murder of her parents and must flee the brutality of her town. She stows away on the ship of the only other person who knows her innocence: an audacious sailor--Owen--bound to her by years of attraction, friendship, and shared secrets. But when Owen's French ancestry finds him at odds with a violent English commander, the turmoil becomes life-or-death for the sailor, the headstrong Ruth, and the cast of Quakers, Pequot Indians, soldiers, highwaymen, and townsfolk dragged into the fray. Now Ruth must choose between sending Owen to the gallows or keeping her own neck from the noose.


Sneak Peak Inside: 

The sails creaked and clanked above them, and the windlass turned with a clicking rhythm like Shrewsbury’s old windmill. Owen peered out over the blue-green ocean water. Women traveling alone on a ship seldom ended up where they set out to go.

 “You told me to get out of Shrewsbury,” Ruth said. “I got out of Shrewsbury.”

 “I told you to go get married, too. All the hundreds of brilliant ideas I’ve had, and you have to listen to the one terrible one. It does me good to see you, though, even knowing the trouble you’ll cause here. An unmarried woman sans escort. Between the hungry men on this ship, the Metoac on that island,” he pointed across the Devil’s Belt, “and the pirates off this bay, a pretty lady be in trouble.” He cleared his throat and muttered, “I need a stiffener.”

 “A mite early, no?”

 “A stiff never hurt anyone. It’s either flip or saltwater out here, so make your pick and make it wise. Keeps you from the scurvy.” The pipe turned to lead in his mouth when her lip twitched into the tease of a smile.

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