grog-blossom, n.

grog-blossom, n. a redness of the nose due to drinking

Anyone have some groggy moments over the holiday break? I did and mine were of the “pass me another glass of bubbles”* variety as well as the “sluggish from lack of sleep” type moments.

You may be familiar with the grog back-story:
In 1740 a British Admiral introduced watered down rum into the navy to prevent sailors getting intoxicated on their allocation of spirits. Admiral Vernon’s nickname was “Old Grog” – from the cloak he wore; made from a weatherproof material of silk and wool called grogram. The 50/50 watered rum was called grog, and how the sailors felt when they’d drunk too much of it (thus defeating the good Admiral’s intentions) was described as groggy or groggified.

Which brings us to the reason for this post: grog-blossom, n.:

Francis Grose’s original 1785 definition was “a carbuncle or pimple on the face caused by drinking”. Over time this mellowed to “a redness of the nose due to drinking” which is now known as acne rosacea; a network of burst blood vessels on the face.

Grog-blossom is considered an obsolete word but the grog-blossom relationship kind of lives on in a band name: Gin Blossoms

This was a rather rude awakening for me as I had previously imagined their name to be a quirky reference to the non-existent flowers of the gin juniper tree.

*In an unofficial derivative sense  (from the Australian colloquialism grog – any alcoholic beverage) meaning a largish amount of alcohol was involved or present.
Similar to the unofficial way we use boozy to describe an event or meal, while not suggesting we were actually drunk or intoxicated.

Sources: Chambers’s English Dictionary (circa 1900), The Vulgar Tongue, OED, Macquarie Dictionary.

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