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Britain’s Daily Tot

By Linda Tancs

For over 300 years and until its demise on July 31, 1970, the crews of Great Britain’s Royal Navy were issued a daily “tot” of Pusser’s Rum. The keeper of the ship’s spirits was the purser, who came to be known as the ship’s pusser. One of the longest and unbroken traditions in seafaring history, the anniversary day of the last ration is known as Black Tot Day. In celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday this year, Black Tot Day events are expected to abound. The occasion is further marked by a new “gunpowder proof” edition of the spirit acclaimed as the single malt of rum. The moniker for this edition owes to the purser’s mixing of a few grains of gunpowder to the rum to see if it would burn. If the mixture ignited, the rum was “at proof,” dismissing any claims that the libation had been watered down. It’s produced at original Admiralty strength and in accordance with the Admiralty’s blending recipe last used when the Royal Navy discontinued its daily ration in 1970.

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