Today’s the day that the Navy took sailors’ free rum away

After 239 years of issuing a daily allowance of ‘Navy strength’ rum to its sailors, the British Admiralty brought the tradition to an end on July 31st, 1970 – and in so doing, created ‘Black Tot Day’.

This national day of mourning for the loss of free government rum – and celebration that the drink is still very much available for land-bound paying customers – is now in its 53rd year, and award-winning rum distiller Pusser’s is making the most of it, showcasing its Admiralty rum blend across UK bars and restaurants.

That Admiralty blend is heavily influenced by rum distilled in a double wooden pot, which first went into production in 1732, shortly after the Admiralty declared that rum should replace all other spirits as the daily tot across the whole British fleet.

When, in the aftermath of the second world war, it was decided that sailors needed clearer heads whilst handling complicated machinery, weaponry and aircraft, Pusser’s purchased the authentic specifications of that rum directly from the Royal Navy.

Today, the double wooden pot stills continue to be the foundation of Navy rum and a vital part of the Pusser’s distillation process that aids with its aroma and flavour. This distilling process also allows Pusser’s to be labelled as an authentic Navy Rum, not just ‘Navy Style’.

The company now offers a wide selection flavours and blends, including the Original Admiralty Blend, Gunpowder Proof Spiced, Pusser’s Rum Aged 15 Years, and the original Gunpowder Proof, recently enjoyed by King Charles III on his latest visit to Royal Yacht Britannia earlier this month.

Managing director at Paragon Brands, Chris Jones, said: “Pusser’s has been producing authentic navy rum since 1979, when the rights to the recipe were handed over by our company founder Charles Tobias. Since then, we have not only been driving the immersive history of the brand but supporting and donating to the Royal Navy and Royal Marine charities.

“With a rich story to tell, Pusser’s stands for quality and substance. We’ll certainly be raising a glass to them this Black Tot Day.’’