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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

Here`s the Navy Grog..since i`m a lazy person i shamelessly copied it from Trader Tiki`s blog which gives me a reason to link to his awesome syrups..

* 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

10 comments to PUSSER`S NAVY RUM

  • Great post Tiare, I’ve haven’t picked this one up yet, wasn’t sure it was as advertised. Now I’m really looking forward to picking up a bottle!

  • Making the cone was the most difficult part about making this drink. Using hand-cranked crushed ice or mallet-crushed ice was too chunky and made for a cone that fell apart. Using wet (but not too wet) ice did seem to help. And using plastic V-shaped containers (water bottles with the bottom cut out) helped on extraction while my Pilsner glasses made things difficult.

    Getting block ice and an ice shaver or waiting for a fresh snow fall are options. Although I guess a blender would have been the most accessible item to do it with in my kitchen (although I try to avoid blenders as much as I can).

  • Ethan, you would do yourself a favor picking up a bottle of Pusser`s!

    Frederic – yeah its not easy without shaved ice. I have no ice shaver either and have just hand cranked ice. What i did was let the ice get a bit soft before cranking it and then i did beat the hell out of it as best as i could with a mortar in a bowl.

    After that i firmly packed a half pilsner glass, pushed a chopstick through it and then i did put pilsner glass, chopstick and all into the freezer for about 8-10 min since the ice started to get “wet”

    Then i had to run some warm water on the glass before the cone slided out. Then i took out the chopstick and putted the cone back in the freezer for another 15 min before using it.

  • jack

    The Navy Grog is one of my favorite drinks (along with the Mai Tai and a proper but simple Dark n Stormy), or may in fact be my favorite. I got a great recipe book by Don the Beachcomber, Hawai’i Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine. Have you tried that recipe?

    3/4 oz lime juice
    3/4 oz grapefruit juice (I agree – only yellow)
    3/4 oz honey (I make honey water too – it’s easier to mix)
    3/4 oz Ron Rico dark
    3/4 oz Appleton Estate
    3/4 oz Pusser’s
    3/4 oz soda
    2 dashes Angustura bitters
    1 oz guava juice

    That ice cone is a hoot. I really dig it. Thanks for the post. I really appreciate what you do Tiare.

  • Hi Jack! i haven`t tried that recipe yet so i appreciate you posted it. I don`t have Ron Rico dark, do you have any suggestions on what i can use instead? or maybe just Pusser`s and Appleton extra would do and up the ratios a bit.

    Yes, i like the ice cone too, it seems a lot of work but it isn`t once you get going.

  • Jack

    Actually you picked out what I would consider the weak link in the recipe. First, Ron Rico dark is a misnomer, since it is not a dark rum. It is a light rum, and a particular flavor – some would consider unforgiving, or harsh. Not sure what to replace it with as far as accuracy. I think the recipe is calling for 3 rum flavors, since Don the Beachcomber chose such variances. Play around with it and let me know what you come up with. I bet you’d find something really interesting. I’m itching to try Clément Rhum Vieux in there.

  • gil batzri

    I have the blue navy strength, I have thought about getting the 15 year, but it is spendy, is it worth the extra coin? How does it compare to say the El Dorado 15?

    I have only seen the ceramic flagon once in situ for sale is was either $120 or at least north of $100 in south Florida.

    I however got a flagon of ebay empty for my (one day) tiki bar, it lives at my office now. There are multiple flagons however, at least two I know of, they are relatively reasonable on auction.

    I mainly use my pusser’s with painkillers, which we don’t make that often because they are a meal not a cocktail. ;)

    Love to know your thoughts on the 15yo, also how does the 151 compare to say LH151? (I have never seen 151 Pussers here.

  • I don´t think it´s worth the extra coin and it cannot compare to ED12 which is an entirely different flavor if you ask me.Stick to the blue one. The 151 can NOT compare to LH151, nothing can.And now you got me thirsty again dammit:-)

  • I agree 100% – even with the thirst. Demerara to the rescue!

  • RC

    Hey, I purchased a case of 1.75 Jolly Jack Flagons. Ive kept them cool for decades. What are they worth.? mint in case box

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