Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Black Tot Day, Sunday July 31, 2016, the 46th Anniversary of Rum Being Removed from British Navy Ships

     For over three centuries, until 1970, all Royal Navy vessels would ring out their ship's bells just before noon every day. The famous call, 'Up Spirits' would go out, calling sailors to report to deck and receive their daily 70ml ‘tot’, or shot, of rum.
     Sunday marks the 46th anniversary of Black Tot Day, and here in Key West we are celebrating this day by introducing the newest Pusser's Rum, Gunpowder Proof at the Rum Barrel.  We are having a free event at 7pm Sunday evening to introduce this award winning new expression from Pusser's Rum.  This is British Navy Rum presented at the original admiralty strength of 54.7% ABV.
     The original ration was beer, but when it was not available, or as often happened it would often spoil easily, it could be substituted by a pint of wine or half a pint of spirits depending on what was locally available.   In later years, the political influence of the West Indian planters led to rum being given the preference over other spirits.
    The half pint of spirits was originally issued neat; it is said that sailors would "prove" its strength by checking that gunpowder doused with rum would still burn, verifying that rum was at least 54.7% ABV, thus the term “Proof” came about.


     The practice of compulsorily diluting rum in the proportion of half a pint of rum to one quart of water was first introduced in the 1740’s by Admiral Edward Vernon, known as Old Grog, because of his habitual grogram cloak.   The ration was also split into two servings, one between 10 am and noon and the other between 4 and 6 pm.   In 1756 Navy regulations required adding small quantities of lemon or lime juice to the ration, to prevent scurvy.    The rum itself was often procured from distillers in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the British Virgin Islands.   Rations were cut in half in 1823 and again in half, to the traditional amount, in 1850.   The last rum ration was on 31 July 1970 and became known as Black Tot Day as sailors were unhappy about the loss of the rum ration.  There were reports that the day involved sailors throwing tots into the sea and the staging of a mock funeral in a training camp.
     This is the perfect day to introduce this wonderful new expression to Florida.  Come join in the celebration at the Rum Barrel on Front Street, here in Key West.  We start at 7 pm, join us to taste this expression and try new special cocktails made from Pusser's Gunpowder Proof Rum.  The party celebrates the newest Navy Rum on the day that the rum was removed from the British Navy Warships.