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A Sin and A Secret: The Luckless Jacobite and Flip


Welcome back to another "A Sin and A Secret." Mix yourself a drink based on a colonial recipe and then curl with a completely true, completely salacious story. Enjoy a new #ASinAndASecret post every week.

William Grant was a remarkably unlucky man.

He was a Scotsman who happened to get caught up in the Jacobite Uprising of 1715. The Uprising began after James Francis Edward Stuart attempted to take the British throne from the recently crowned King George I. Thousands supported his attempt.

William Grant was not a supporter. He was a laborer in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, living on the Earl of Mar’s Land. Unfortunately for Grant, the Ear of Mar was a fervent supporter of the Jacobite Uprising and attempted to form a regiment of his vassals in Aberdeenshire – including William Grant.

The Earl of Mar’s men arrived to conscript Grant into the regiment for an invasion of England. However, Grant and several of his neighbors fled their homes and hid in the hills. In retaliation, the Earl of Mar “sett fire to their houses, and corn-yards.” Parties of Jacobite soldiers were sent after the men, capturing Grant and at least fourteen of his neighbors.

Images: The House labeled L is the one in which William Grant was barricaded during the battle of Preston. Source:

Filling ones ranks with kidnapped men who don’t support you is not an ideal way to form a regiment. Thus, the Earl of Mar decided to leave most of his regiment in Scotland, taking only a single company to join the invasion of England. William Grant’s ill-luck continued – he was in that single company, forced to march towards Lancashire.

It was in Lancashire that the reluctant, kidnapped Jacobites were surprised by the sudden arrival of trained British soldiers. In the battle that ensued, Grant, and his fellow Aberdeenshire laborers, barricaded themselves in a house, for what became days of street to street fighting. The British gained the upper hand and set the house alight, forcing Grant and his fellows to surrender in much the same way that they had originally been forced to join the rebellion.

On November 14, 1715, all 1,467 Jacobites surrendered to the English. Held in deplorable conditions, fifteen men (including Grant) made an appeal for release because they had been forced to join the rebellion. A hearing was held, and witnesses called, all in support of the prisoners.

But the court was not swayed. Grant and his fellow conscripts were sentenced to transportation. Transportation meant 7 years unpaid labor in the Colonies as a convict servant.

William Grant arrived in Annapolis on August 20, 1716. His servitude was purchased by Thomas Davis, a notoriously quarrelsome tavern keeper in London Town. Grant’s neighbor and fellow conscript William Davidson also wound up in London Town, along with four other Jacobite servants, all of whom appear to have been volunteers to the cause.

There our information ceases. What became of these hapless tenant farmers in Aberdeenshire, we cannot say. The only thing that is sure is that they were indeed unlucky men.

In honor of William Grant’s many trials through fire, we have paired this story with the colonial drink Flip. Flip is a drink with a custard base, rum, and beer. If made in the historical method, it also requires a red-hot poker to heat and froth the mixture!



  • 1-2 eggs

  • 2 – 3 oz rum

  • 1 tbsp sugar or molasses

  • 8-10 oz beer, preferably a brown ale

  • Optional: red hot poker

  • Optional: grated nutmeg for garnish

  1. Beat to combine: 1-2 eggs, 2 - 3 oz rum, and 1 tbsp sugar/molasses.

  2. Add 8 - 10 oz warm beer, especially a brown ale.

  3. Traditionally, one would stir with a red-hot poker, known as a flip-dog or loggerhead, to froth the mixture. Today, you can warm the beer on a stove top until it begins steaming.

  4. Pour the beer in to the other ingredients slowly and pour the combined mixture back and forth until well blended.

  5. Optional: sprinkle grated nutmeg on top at end.

William Grant Sources:

Select Drink Recipe Sources for the Series:

  • Alderman, Clifford Lindsey, "Of Drinks & Drinkers," Early American Life, December 1975, pgs 87-88, 91 - 93

  • Bullock, Helen, The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion: Being a Collection of Upwards of Five Hundred of the Most Ancient and Approv'd Recipes in Virginia Cookery, Colonial Williamsburg and Dietz Press: Richmond, VA, 1938

  • Carr, Eve, "Home-Grown Treats," Mid-Atlantic Country, December, 1986 pgs. 34 - 35, 58

  • Gaspee Days Committee,

  • Mackin, Jeanne, "Flowing Bowl," Americana, pgs. 39 - 41

  • Stief, Frederick Philip, Eat, Drink, & Be Merry in Maryland, Johns Hopkins Press: Baltimore, MD, 1932

  • Tilp, Frederick, "Tips on Tippling from Tidewater Maryland," Maryland Magazine, 1978, pgs. 14 - 17

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