A good discussion on the origins of gin can be found at
Saturday 10 October 1663
From about 1655, a pint of rum was given to every sailor in the Navy every day. Half was served at 12 noon, and the other half at between 5 or 6 p.m. (the amount decreased in later years). Known as Pusser’s Rum (the name a corruption of Purser, the person who issued the rum), sailors had a daily tot of rum until the practice ended on 31 July 1970.
Read more at http://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/behind-the-scenes...
It occurs to me that Sir William Penn captured Jamaica in 1655 ... and rum comes from Jamaica. There must be a connection, and I wonder if he made money off this arrangement?
I don't have time to research this idea today, and will post anything I find later ... but I'm wondering if anyone else knows?
OED: 2. Any form of alcoholic spirits used as a beverage. Now only in pl. (somewhat arch.).
a1613 Overbury Wife, etc. (1638) 178 His new Trade of brewing Strong-Waters makes a number of mad-men.
1624 Capt. Smith Virginia iv. 160 After, with warme clothes and a little strong water, they had a little recouered him.
1687 Relat. De Chaumont's Embassy Siam 23 Eleven Barks full of Oxen, Sheep, and Strong-water made with rice.
In Pepys time "strong water" was also used as an English translation of aquafortis, or nitric acid. If anyone had drunk that, they would be dead.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.