Saturday, January 28, 2012

Release your Inner Pirate Day in Tampa Bay

Time for the annual Gasparilla marauding of Tampa. Gorgeous weather for a Pirate invasion, hope all is well on the water for the Mystic Krewe's.
Best synopsis I've found on the web: Jose Gaspar, self-proclaimed “Gasparilla”, was a lieutenant in the Royal Spanish Navy until 1783 when he created a mutiny, seized command of a ship and sailed to Florida. As a pirate, Gasparilla was the last of the buccaneers, and terrorized the coastal waters off West Florida during the early 19th century. In fact, excerpts from his diary boast the capture and burning of 36 ships! The ships' crews could either join him or walk the plank… ARGH! Gaparilla ravaged the waters off Florida until December 1821. The crew then decided to divvy up their fortunes and retire as pirates, when they caught a glimpse of what they determined would be their final conquest – a merchant ship sailing to Orleans. But, alas, it was a U.S. Navy warship in disguise! Here is how the story is told, “just as the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise was boarding the defeated ship, Gasparilla seized a heavy chain, wrapped it around his waist and neck and leaped into the water, brandishing his sword in a final gesture of defiance as he sank into the sea.” This was the basis for the festival that started in 1904. It was dreamt up by Miss Louise Frances Dodge, the society editor of the Tampa Tribune and during a series of secret meetings, the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla planned the first mock invasion! Above from the Datz Deli website. In honor of the day long party, might I offer a libation worthy of a pillaging pirate. 1 bottle of imported ginger beer (or home brewed if you're lucky) Captain Morgan's spiced rum Pineapple soda (cuban section of the grocers' shelves) wedge of lime ice In a tall glass, fill with ice and add one and half jiggers of spiced rum, add 2/3 of the glass with pineapple soda float til glass is full with ginger beer squeeze a generous squeeze of lime add straw stir gently drink slowly and enjoy!

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