Liquid History: Rum and the Royal Navy

Rum and the Royal Navy have a long and sordid love affair. Discover our "liquid history" and how Pusser's came to be!

Rum and the Royal Navy share a long story, dating back to 1650. Not only was it the drink of choice for valiant sailors, but they also received daily rations from (a tot) each day.

The long history of rum stretches across centuries and continents. As one of the world's oldest and favorite spirits, rum keeps its place on bar shelves all across the world.

How did this love affair start? How is Pusser's Rum the main character in this centuries-old romance? Read on to learn more about it.

Rum and the Royal Navy

Not all rum is a British Navy rum. Spirits experts agree that for rum to be British Navy quality, it must be a blend of aged rum from at least two of the former British Colonies of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad.

While these blends constitute a British Navy standard, many insist that true Royal Navy rum must include rum from the pot-stills of Guyana. Exactly like ours, here at Pusser's. It's ABV must also be 54.5%. See our Gunpowder Proof.

Why do spirits experts agree on such classification? It all has to do with how the Royal Navy made their rum.

In 1731, the Royal Navy began blending rum to distribute to their sailors. Life sailing the seas on wooden ships was brutal. The Navy thought it was wise to distribute daily spirits to their sailors to lift morale.

The officer in charge of distributing the daily ration, or tot, of this blended rum, was The Purser. Over time, this word changed to "Pusser," and thus Pusser's Rum was born.

What Did the Navy Drink?

Royal Navy history is also the history of the rum cocktail. While sailors drank their tots straight in the beginning, by 1740 they were ordered to dilute it with lime and sugar. This was done to inhibit intoxication.

Thus the Daquiri, Grog, and Painkiller were born. These classic rum cocktails saw their beginnings with the Royal Navy.

Black Tot Day

July 31, 1970, was the final day enlisted men received their daily rum ration. It is the day where the long-standing rum traditions came to an end, and the Royal Navy pushed toward modernization.

The Royal Navy decided that life aboard a modern vessel became much too complicated to issue alcohol each day. Modern warfare, new technology, made any amount of inebriation dangerous.

On Black Tot Day, British sailors across the globe stood on the bow of Royal Navy ships wearing black armbands, saluted the Queen, and took their last drinks.

While the official Navy tradition ended that day, the rum did not. Pusser's Rum uses the same rum blending standards to make the same rum the sailors drank for years.

Pusser's Rum: Drink Tradition

Though Black Tot Day is the day when old Royal Navy traditions died, we work hard to make sure you can drink that traditional navy rum.

Rum is part of our history. It's a part of Royal Navy history that we will never forget. The next time you reach for a bottle, reach for the stuff the brave men and women who came before drank.

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