30th July 2019 by Rachel Wallhouse

This year we’ve joined Pusser’s Rum in celebrating Black Tot Day! Let’s have a look into the history and what it’s all about. Put briefly, on July 31st 1970 it was the final day when the Royal Navy issued it’s service men and women with their daily rum ration. “The love affair between the Navy and Rum began around 1655, with a full pint of rum issued for many years”. During the 1740s, it was compulsory to dilute rum in the proportion of half a pint to one quarter of water (1:4) which was issued by Admiral Edward Vernon (aka Old Grog known for his grogram cloak). Rations were split into servings: one between 10am and noon, while the other was between 4pm and 6pm. After that, one year later, the Navy required service men and women to add small quantities of lemon/lime juice (which was a luxury at the time!) to the ration. In 1823 rations were cut in half as drunkenness on board ships became a problem. Fast forward again to 1850 and the rations were cut in half AGAIN, as workers still had unsteady hands when working the machinery. It had to be stopped! “The rum rations, or “tot”, from 1850 to 1970 consisted of one-eighth of an imperial pint (71ml) of rum at 95.5 proof (54.6% ABV), given out to every sailor at midday”.


Admiral Peter Hill-Norton made a decision in 1970 that we would abolish the rum ration. “He felt it could have led to sailors failing a breathalyser test and being less capable to manage complex machinery”.  In conclusion, the 31st of July 1970 was to be the final rum ration, which is now known as Black Tot Day (as sailors were deeply unhappy about the loss of the rum ration). “Some sailors wore black arm bands; tots were ‘buried at sea’ and mock funeral processions took place complete with coffin and accompanying drummers and piper”. 

Today, Pusser’ Rum contributes each year to the main Royal Navy Charity, and this money helps to support serving ex-Navy personnel, providing everything from bedding to hospital and rehabilitation equipment. To date, no other brand does this. So we want to join in the celebration! With that in mind we’ll be giving away lots of FREE Pusser’s Rum merchandise on the 31st of July 2019.


If you do buy a bottle of Pusser’s Rum you are helping to contribute to the Tot Fund! The Whalley Wine Shop currently stock the Pusser’s Rum Gunpowder Proof (Black Label). “It’s a traditional Royal Navy style rum produced at original Admiralty strength and in accordance with the Admiralty’s blending recipe last used when the Royal Navy discontinued its daily ration on 31st July 1970”. This rum is beautifully dark, coppery amber with burnished copper highlights. You can expect notes of treacle, toffee, honey and vanilla with oak, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. It’s blended “in massive wood pot stills, approaching 300 years old, Pusser’s continues to produce liquid history without the aid of flavoring agents and is 100 percent natural”. It’s purely fantastic! Only £39.99, now available in store.

Get involved in Black Tot Day by using the hashtag #BlackTotDay2019PhotoContest #BlackTotDay2019 and #BTD. Also tag them @Pussersrum (Instagram) and @Pussers (Twitter and Facebook). If you want to see more of our posts follow us @whalleywineshop on Twitter and Instagram.

We’d like to thank Pusser’s Rum who contributes so generously to such a great cause!