I’ve just finished reading ‘The Sunlit Summit’, a biography of W.H. Murray. Murray was a pioneer Scottish climber in the 1930s who wrote what I think is the finest Scottish mountaineering book ever written – ‘Mountaineering in Scotland’. Murray and his pals were hard men – no modern fabrics, crampons, protection equipment in these days – and they revived themselves after a long cold day with a concoction which they called ‘Mummery’s Blood’ (after A.F. Mummery, a famous Victorian mountaineer). In Murray’s words, Mummery’s Blood was made by ‘bringing half a pint of water to boil on the Primus, dissolving 3 Oxo cubes then adding 2 gill bottles of rum’.
For younger readers, a gill is a 1/4 of a pint (just over 100ml) so basically Mummery’s Blood consists of equal parts of hot, strong beef stock and hot rum.
After a cold Sunday afternoon walk, I decided that rather than my usual effete cup of tea, I would recreate Mummery’s Blood. I didn’t have Oxo cubes but had some Knorr beef stock so I made this up double strength. I then took a large measure of rum (not 2 gills as this would have rendered me comatose for the rest of the evening), added an equal volume of the beef stock and brought it to the boil.
Well, it was certainly a reviving drink. I suspect it would taste better in a cold tent or bothy rather than a centrally-heated house but it wasn’t bad – it was a drink to put hairs on your chest. Hot rum is very potent and I floated upstairs to my computer to write this post. I’m not sure that I’ll repeat the experiment at home but would like to try it in the hills.
If you have never read Murray’s book, it’s still in print. I’d recommend it to all hillgoers. You have a treat in store.