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Primary alcohol by volume
ServedStraight up; without ice
Standard garnishNutmeg
Standard drinkware
Old Fashioned Glass.svg
Old Fashioned glass
Commonly used ingredients
PreparationMix and garnish.

Bumbo (also known as bombo or bumboo) is a drink made from rum, water, sugar, and nutmeg.[1] Cinnamon is sometimes substituted for or added to the nutmeg. Modern bumbo is often made with dark rum, citrus juice, grenadine, and nutmeg.

A related drink is the Traitor, made with orange juice, rum, honey, and cactus, mixed and heated.

Bumbo was popular in the Caribbean during the era of piracy, largely because it tasted better than Royal Navy grog.[citation needed] Pirates and short-haul merchantmen did not suffer from scurvy as often as British sailors, largely because their voyages were shorter and their diet included plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. This meant that citrus juice could be dropped from the grog recipe, and sugar and nutmeg sweetened the mix.[citation needed]

Bumbo was commonly used during election campaigns in colonial British America, to the extent that treating voters to gifts and other freebies during election campaigns was referred to as "swilling the planters with bumbo".[2] George Washington was particularly noted for using this technique. His papers state that he used 160 gallons of rum to treat 391 voters to bumbo during campaigning for the Virginia House of Burgesses in July 1758.[3]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., "Bumbo"
  2. ^ "Swilling the Planters With Bumbo: When Booze Bought Elections", The Smithsonian
  3. ^ Michael Pinto-Duschinsky (2002). "Financing Politics: A Global View". Journal of Democracy 13:4: 69–86.