A fortified Spanish wine made from grape juice twice fermented. This seems a rather elegant beverage for a band of cut-throats, but it has the virtue of rhyming with merry. Walters (302) suggests that “pirate sherry” may really have been rum. On the other hand, Kravetz (182) and Turnbull (294) think that Gilbert is hinting at what is revealed in the end, which is that the pirates are all noblemen who have gone wrong. Drinking out of glasses is another clue. Kravetz also suggests that their being noblemen explains why they never attack a party weaker than themselves. Not cricket, you know.

Act I