Gunroom Navy Rum!

GunRoom label

When I went to a rum tasting at Renbjer & Magnusson recently, there was one that kicked it and stood out…. and the star of the show was the Gunroom Navy rum! – it`s their own creation/brand – gunpowder proof, strong and bold in the flavor, it`s a blend of rums from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados.

Navy Rum

Known as “Nelson’s Blood” rum was introduced to the service in the West Indies as a substitute for beer and brandy. There are two things to remember about navy rums. One is the strength. Navy strength is a spirit that has to be of high strength, over 57% alcohol.

There is also gunpowder strength which became the new navy strength at 54.5% and there is navy rum which traditionally was made from any rum bought from a distillery then blended back in the UK for sale to the navy. The rums could be from a single island, or blends. Because Guyana and Jamaica supplied most rums to the UK most navy rums had their country on the label.

The GunRoom Navy Rum is 65% ABV or 130 proof, which is a bit above what is defined as navy strength. It is said that in the old navy days sailors would “prove” the strength of their rum rations by checking that gunpowder doused with rum would still burn (thus verifying that rum was at least 57% ABV.)

This rum was distributed to sailors with one serving around midday and one late afternoon – called a tot. While rations were later cut several times over a period of time, before finally being abolished in the 1970s, (known as the “black tot day” that original proof test defined what we know today as Navy Strength rum—strong, potent overproof and powerful.

GunRoom Navy Rum

GunRoom tasting

GunRoom Navy Rum is still hand bottled in small square shaped bottles with a simple label. If i was french i`d say “trés sympa” (very nice) and indeed these bottles are cute, but don`t let that fool you, the content is not “cute” – it´s bold…with rums from Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados in the blend you get a full flavored product packing a punch.

Nose: Wood, leather, raisin and sugarcane…dried tropical fruit peel, vanilla, toffee and spice.

In the mouth: It`s a strong and robust rum with quite a bit of wood, smoke, molasses and banana, tropical fruit, dark fruits and spices. It reminds me of a darker version of Smith and Cross. It`s bordering to rough but not in a bad way, it´s not harsh. If you like strong rum you`ll like this.

It feels like this rum could kick any cold to the moon…..and it really warms the chest.

A few drops of water opens up more fruitiness and mellows it down a bit. It´s a great rum for mixed drinks and especially well suited for tiki drinks, i think it can stand up to most mixers and juices. It´s ok to drink neat as well but it´s not for the faint of heart (or mouth) this is a rum for lovers of rums with attitude!

Navy Grog  (my version for GunRoom of Trader Vic`s from Martin Cate)

GunRoom Navy Grog

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

0.75 oz grapefruit juice (white)

0.5 oz sugarcane syrup

1/3 oz grog concentrate (if you have it) or 0.5 oz allspice/pimento dram (like St Elisabeth or Bitter Truth brands) or you can make it yourself.

1 oz gold rum (such as Appleton VX)

1.5 oz GunRoom Navy Rum

Shake together and strain into a rock`s glass with crushed ice, garnish with either a lime shell, a sugar swizzle stick or a ice cone and maybe a tropical orchid…

Potent drink!

The ice cone is made with Beachbum Berry`s ice cone mold the Navy Grog Cone Kit and it works just fine! easier than the old way of doing it by using a pilsener glass! it can be purchased at Cocktal Kingdom.

The next is the classic Trader Vic`s Mai Tai which with rums like this one can become strong and wild…

Traditionally since the 17 year old Wray and Nephew rum was gone the Mai Tai has been mixed with two rums but i also like Mai Tais mixed with just one rum, if that rum has full potential and the rum has some Demerara or Jamaican pot still rum in itself or in the blend.

In this blend i get four different rums in my Mai Tai.

GunRoom Mai Tai

GunRoom Mai Tai

2 oz  GunRoom Navy Rum

1 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

0.25 oz sugarcane syrup

0.25 oz orgeat

OR you can use 0.5 oz orgeat and omit the syrup, it`s tasty too…

Add 5 dl/2 cups of crushed ice, and shake 10 seconds.  Pour unstrained into a double old-fashioned glass. Sink your spent lime shell in the drink, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Final thoughts: If you can get the GunRoom Navy Rum and like strong rums and/or Tiki and tropical rum drinks, you should get yourself a bottle!

GunRoom bottle

PUSSER`S NAVY RUM

pussers

This awesome navy rum has been around for a long time..

The first thing i notice when i open a bottle of Pusser´s is that it smells demerara..but not only as this navy rum is a blend of rums. I have read that its five rums in the Pusser´s blend but if my taste buds aren´t lying there gotta be most of the demerara or the demerara is so powerful that it dominates.

As for what makes up the Pusser`s blend it is said to be a blend of rums from the old Brittish empire including Jamaican, Trinidad and Brittish Virgin Islands rums but i hear it being said (by some very good sources) that in today´s blend there isn´t any Jamaican anymore..

Well…there`s enough fine demerara in it to suit my taste..

WHAT IS A NAVY RUM?

Known as “Nelson’s Blood” rum was introduced to the service in the West Indies as a substitute for beer.

What defines a navy rum? well, it was a specific type of rum distilled for the Admiralty in wooden pot stills and a navy rum has to be distilled in wood.

As we know there are only two production-capacity wooden pot stills remaining in the world and these are the two 250 years old wooden pot stills in Guyana – one single and one double and the double pot still is the same still that used to produce the navy rums in the past.

As for Pusser`s today its that same old and unique double wooden pot still from Port Morant (today in Diamond) that is used and this still is also used in the blends for El Dorado 8yo, 12yo, 15yo and 25yo. You can read about the demerara rum here.

I just got two bottles of Pusser`s, one 150  overproof and one 84 proof with a red label – but not the 15 yo red. Pusser`s is short for “purser”, distributor of the ration.

This can be read at the back of the Pusser´s bottles:

For more than 300 years, from before the days of Admiral Nelson, wooden ships and iron men, the sailors of Britain’s Royal Navy were issued a daily ration of rum by the ship’s Purser. This tradition, one of the longest and unbroken in the history of the sea, carried forward from the year 1655 to August 1st 1970.

The superb rum in this bottle is the same rum that was standard issue aboard Their Majesties’ ships at the time of the custom’s termination in 1970. For centuries, British Navy Jack Tars drank their Pusser’s Rum and appreciated this spirit’s exceptional quality. Its distinct character is still created from six of the world’s finest Caribbean rums which were discovered on their excursions at sea.

Pusser`s rum was sold to the public for the first time after it was purchased by Charles Tobias after the tot was officially stopped and the last tot was given at the Black Tot Day- 31 July 1970.

The nose of Pusser`s is like i said, it smells very much of demerara rum, rich, intense of roasted molasses, raisin, a bit smoky, leathery and then fruity.

The taste is very rich and aromatic, same as a good demerara rum to me. Its from those wooden stills where components have settled in the wood for over 200 years and even though they change out some of the wood pieces in order to maintain the still there are woods there that really are that old. The flavor is also slightly oaky and then it has something that i cannot define in the aftertaste.

That may be similar to what is called rancio –  something that occurs in certain aged stuff like in for example old singlemalt scotches or cognac and can be defined as earthy, overripe, sour and musty. So to me its without any doubt the demerara rums in it that comes with this type of flavor.

Pusser`s rum comes in different proofs, the original blue label is 84 proof (42%) and the red label is 80 proof. The one i have with a red label too but not aged 15 years is 84 proof and the overproof i have is 151 proof with a blue label.

Then we have the ignition strength proof as well – which is 108 proof (54%) Its called Ignition strength because when arriving in England the rum was 140 degrees overproof and that was taken down to 95.5 degrees underproof by adding water.

Then they added a small amount of it to grains of gunpowder and the whole thing was ignited with a magnifying glass. If the burning alcohol managed to stay alight then it was said to be “proof” – if not it was underproof – and if it exploded it was overproof.

Today the gunpowder test isn´t done anymore of course – unless – you happened to attend the “Full Sail Session” at Tales of the Cocktail this summer..

gunpowder-test-300x225

One more thing i want to mention here..the ceramic flagons…oh wow..Pusser´s sure knows how to market their product..

These ceramic flagons but slightly larger used to have a capacity of one-Imperial gallon, and were used to carry and store rum on board ships of Great Britain’s Royal Navy from the late 1800’s through July 31st, 1970 – they are awesome! i haven´t yet been able to get me one but i hope to..one day! The navy’s flagons were encased in a tightly hand-woven willow basket to reduce breakage.

The Royal Navy officers did before dinner each day,toast the reigning monarch and then offer the toast of the day. The toasts are as follows:

Monday:
Our ships at sea.
Tuesday: Our men.
Wednesday: Ourselves.
Thursday: A bloody war and quick promotion.
Friday: A willing soul and sea room.
Saturday: Sweethearts and wives, may they never meet.
Sunday: Absent friends and those at sea.

NAVY GROG (circa 1941 version)

navy-grog1

Navy Grog

* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
* 3/4 ounce white grapefruit juice (not pink or red!)
* 3/4 ounce soda water
* 1 ounce honey mix (1:1 honey and water, heat but do not boil, then cool it and bottle it; will keep 2 weeks in fridge)
* 1 ounce white Puerto Rican rum
* 1 ounce dark Jamaican rum
* 1 ounce Lemon Hart Demerara rum (El Dorado 8-year or 12-year Demerara OK to sub, but not the 5- or 15-year)

Shake vigorously with ice cubes. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass with ice-cone around straw.

Navy Grog Ice Cone

To make cone, pack a footed pilsner glass with finely shaved ice, run a chopstick through the middle to make a hole for the straw, and then gently remove cone from glass. Freeze cone overnight, or at least 4 hours till hardened).

When ready to serve, run straw through cone. Drink is sipped through straw. (NOTE: Cones will last 2 to 3 days in the freezer, after which they will start to evaporate.)

PUSSER`S GROG RECIPE

Over the rocks..

2 oz Pusser´s Rum

0.5 oz fresh lime juice

2 oz  soda water

1 tsp dark cane sugar