In 1805, British Admiral Horatio Nelson was killed during the Battle of Trafalgar off the coast of Spain. Most sailors were simply put to rest at sea, but as an admiral, Nelson had to be brought back to England for an official burial.
To preserve his body during the voyage home, the second-in-command stored Nelson’s body in the ship’s vat of rum and halted all liquor rations to the crew. Not a bad idea, but when the ship reached port, officials went to retrieve Nelson’s body and found the vat dry.
Disregarding good taste (in every sense), the crew had been secretly drinking from it the entire way home. After that, naval rum was referred to as Nelson’s Blood. cnn.com