THE FABULOUS JAMES AND THE STORY OF
SUGAR GIRL RUM
From 1921 to 1925, the Fabulous James could be seen bobbing up and down the Miami coast on clear summer evenings...
The festive fishing schooner never came closer than three miles to shore, as the 18th amendment prohibited the sale and serving of alcohol within three miles of the US coast.
You see, the Fabulous James, was a party boat. It belonged to Gloria James Hughes, and was so named in remembrance of her father.
Gloria grew up on boats and islands and became accustomed to the delights and flavours of the Caribbean. By the time she was 21, Captain James had become a sickly man and soon passed away, leaving his daughter a battered old fishing boat, a battered old fishing crew, and 500 gallons of debt.
Those 500 gallons were barrels of fine rum. For the young Gloria, this situation posed a challenge, rather than a problem.
Gloria and her crew transformed the old fishing boat into one of the most sought after party destinations of their time. The Fabulous James, was now open for business, and cocktail hour had begun!
In speakeasies all around Miami, word soon began to spread of a new kind of party on the water. Lounge singers worked the boat’s coordinates into their song lyrics and scores of patrons would make their way out to Gloria’s fishing boat. The rum, exclusively served on board The Fabulous James was dubbed “Sugar Girl Rum”.
Her parties attracted musicians, movie stars, and even a few of the dodgier politicians of the time. Moonlight swims, raucous dancing, elopements, were all quite common events for the Fabulous James.
Soon the authorities were onto Gloria. The Fabulous James tried to escape to the Bahamas, but a vicious summer storm took hold of the glittering little boat... Neither Gloria nor her old men were ever heard of or seen again.
However, to this day, on clear summer nights, Miami boatmen sometimes report hearing jazz music and laughter, or seeing strange twinkling lights on the water that disappear, once you try to find them.