Created | Updated Aug 15, 2008
From 1655 to 1 August, 1970, the sailors of Britain's Royal Navy received a daily ration of rum from the ship's Purser. No one is quite sure who the first person was who eventually said, 'hmmm... this might not be such a good idea'. Admittedly, the ration of rum wasn't a whole lot, and the sailors are known to have watered it down into a drink known as 'Grog' to make the rum last longer. But for 300 years ships of the Royal Navy operated without the benefit of warning labels proclaiming, 'Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to operate machinery'.
Drunken sailors are known to have difficulties with enunciating their words clearly and precisely. And the word 'Purser' quickly became 'Pusser' and that is how the name of the rum was born, and, while it is no longer issued to the crews of Royal Navy ships, British Navy Pusser's Rum, a product of the Caribbean nations of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, and the British Virgin Islands, is sold in bottles worldwide. At 95.5° proof, Pusser's Rum is a strong, dark rum, better than any other rum you are likely to encounter on land or sea.
The British naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson is famous for the line, 'England expects every man to do his duty'. Mortally wounded at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, a statue of him stands atop a column in the middle of Trafalgar Square in London to commemorate his greatest victory. Ships travelled slowly in the great days of sail; so legend has it that, after he died at sea, he had to be brought back to London in a barrel, his body preserved with Royal Navy Rum. Some say he was more likely preserved using Gin or Brandy, but that ruins the story. By the time the barrel reached London, the rum was gone. As he was transferred with all due ceremony from one ship to the next on his way back to land, the sailors all had to have a little bit of the rum... along with a little bit of Nelson's Blood. Since then, any rum or grog, and Pusser's rum in particular, have all been known as Nelson's Blood. However, there is a drink concoction served in the British Virgin Isles (and probably elsewhere) that has been given the name as well.
How to Enjoy a Pusser's
- One part Grapefruit Juice
- One part Cranberry Juice
- One part Pineapple Juice
- One part Pusser's Rum
Grog - The simple method:
- 2 Parts water
- 1 part rum
Grog - The complex method:
- 1 shot rum
- 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
- Squeeze of lime juice
- Cinnamon stick
- Boiling water
Stir all ingredients, adding enough boiling water to fill mug or glass.
- 1 ounce cream of coconut
- 1 ounce orange juice
- 4 ounces pineapple juice
- 2 ounces Pusser's Rum
Blend shake or stir. Pour over ice, and grate fresh nutmeg on top.
Traditional Drinking Song
A Drop of Nelson's Blood (or Roll the Old Chariot Along)
Oh, a drop of Nelson's blood wouldn't do us any harm;
(Repeat three times)
And we'll all hang on behind.
We'll roll the old chariot along,
An' we'll roll the old chariot along;
So we'll roll the old chariot along,
An' we'll all hang on behind!
Oh, a little mug o' beer wouldn't do us any harm, etc...
Oh, a plate of Irish stew wouldn't do us any harm, etc...
Oh, a little slug of gin wouldn't do us any harm, etc...
Oh, a night upon the shore wouldn't do us any harm etc.
Oh, a little drop of wine wouldn't do us any harm, etc...
Oh, a nice fat cook wouldn't do us any harm, etc...
Oh, a long spell in gaol wouldn't do us any harm, etc...
Oh, a nice watch below wouldn't do us any harm, etc...
Oh, a night with the gals wouldn't do us any harm, etc...